So you’re wondering if you can use a laptop as a monitor for a desktop computer. You probably thought about placing your laptop next to your PC monitor and using it as a secondary monitor for your computer.
Why bother buying another monitor when you already have a laptop? Well, there are some important things you need to know. I had the same idea, and after lots of research and tests, I discovered some solutions that can help you.
Can I Use a Laptop as a Monitor for a Desktop Computer?
You can’t natively use a laptop as a monitor for a desktop computer but you can through software. If both devices are running Windows 10, with modern Wifi adapters, and are connected to the same local area network, the easiest option is to use Windows 10’s wireless display feature.
If both your laptop and PC are using Windows 10 it’s quite easy to use the laptop as a second display for your computer.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure your laptop is connected to your Wifi network.
- On your laptop, press Windows Key + P and select Connect to Wireless Display.
- At the bottom of the tab, click on Projecting to this PC
- Toggle the Discoverable option and set the connection settings.
- On your PC, press Windows Key + P and select Connect to Wireless Display
- You should see the name of your laptop on the list.
- Click on the laptop, allow the connection on your laptop, and it should connect
- From there, your laptop will behave as a secondary screen over the network
- You can press Windows Key + P again to change the monitor mode to extended
The main problem with this option is some times one of your devices won’t have the wireless display feature. If that’s the case, read this article: why projecting to this PC is greyed out.
The most common problem is your PC doesn’t have an updated Wifi adapter that supports Windows 10’s wireless display feature. The solution is to buy a new USB Wifi adapter for your PC. If you don’t see the Connect to Wireless Display link, it’s most likely that your PC does not have a Wifi adapter.
Bear in mind, even if you have a fast Wifi network, using a laptop as a monitor for your PC with Windows 10’s wireless projection feature can be laggy. It’s not nearly as responsive as a cabled monitor, but it’s a free and easy solution worth a shot.
Don’t try to connect your laptop’s HDMI port to your computer’s HDMI port. While the ports are the same and the cables will fit, you could damage one of your devices because both devices are trying to output signals.
It might also be possible to take apart your laptop’s screen, connected it to an HDMI controller, and then connect that to your PC, but it’s an unnecessarily complicated project.
Overall, you can use a laptop as a monitor with Windows 10’s wireless display feature. If your laptop is running a different operating system, there are third-party apps that you can use.