Can You Use a Chromebook as a Second Monitor?

So you have a cheap Chromebook lying around and you want to know if you can use it as a second monitor.

I have a really potato Chromebook that reached its update-end-of-life, so I wanted to see if I could find a use for it.

What I learned might interest you.

Can You Use a Chromebook as a Second Monitor?

You can use a Chromebook as a second monitor with software such as SpaceDesk. SpaceDesk makes your host computer think the Chromebook is an exernal display.

There’s a slight lay when using network display software, but it’s the best solution that I have found so far. There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind when using SpaceDesk.

Important: 

The most important one is the host computer needs to be running Windows 10. Currently, there isn’t a solution for hosting the primary display on a Mac.

I’ll walk you through how to use SpaceDesk to use your Chromebook as a second monitor in a second.

Bear in mind, you can’t use a Chromebook as a second monitor without software. Chromebooks, and almost every other device, can only send video signals out.

The same applies to using a laptop as a monitor (although that’s easier when both laptops are running Windows 10).

Want more than one monitor connected to a Chromebook? Read our tutorial on how to connect multiple displays to a Chromebook.

To use a Chromebook as a second monitor, it needs to be able to receive video signals, and no Chromebook models are capable of that yet.

Warning: 

Don’t try plugging an HDMI cable from a computer into a Chromebook! It could damage the hardware because both devices are trying to output video to each other.

How to Use a Chromebook as a Second Monitor with SpaceDesk:

It’s pretty easy to get this working with a PC and a Chromebook.

Here’s how it works:

Your host computer creates a virtual server, and then you connect to that server from another device. The connected devices will then act as secondary displays for your host computer. Pretty cool.

What you need to do is download and install SpaceDesk on your host Windows 10 computer.

Once installed, run the SpaceDesk Server (type SpaceDesk into your Start Menu, it should show up).

It looks like this:

A screenshot showing the Space Desk Server location

Open it, let the server start, and now it’s time to connect to it from your Chromebook.

Connecting a Chromebook to SpaceDesk:

If your Chromebook supports Android apps, download the SpaceDesk app from Google Play.

Open the app and add your host computer’s IP Address. When you connect, the host computer will likely flicker because it detects the new device as a display and is arranging the desktop layout and resolution.

If your Chromebook is a piece of shit like mine, and it doesn’t support Android apps, you’ll have to use the SpaceDesk HTML5 viewer.

You just need to open that link on your Chromebook, and then enter your host’s IP address. Your Chromebook needs internet access to access the viewer website.

See? fairly simple, and the performance is pretty good. You might need to tweak the resolution a little so that your main monitor aligns with your Chromebook.

SpaceDesk HTML 5 viewer settings

And that’s it. Now you can use your Chromebook as a second monitor with your computer.

Conclusion:

With SpaceDesk, it’s quite easy to extend your PC screen to your Chromebook. It’s free too.

Did I just save you from buying a secondary monitor?

Obviously, this solution is not as good as a physical secondary monitor, but it’s good enough for notes and other office tasks.

I used it for my research when working on articles. I wouldn’t use it for other tasks like watching videos or playing games because the performance is too clunky.

By the way, did you know you can play PC games on a Chromebook?

Drop a comment if you tried this before!

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