Trouble connecting Surface to a second screen?

Applies to: Surface DevicesSurface

Before you begin troubleshooting

In many cases, downloading and installing the latest updates for Windows and your Surface will fix the issue. To find out how, see Install Surface and Windows updates. For another possible solution, unplug your monitor from the power outlet and then plug it back in.

For more information about which video connections your Surface supports, see Surface features.

Setting up your multiple-monitor desktop

Use the table below to help you find what you need to set up a second monitor with your Surface device.

My Surface device Daisy chain support External display/audio output port
Surface Pro  Yes Mini DisplayPort
Surface Studio
Surface Laptop 
Surface Book
Surface Book 2 Yes  USB-C
Surface Studio 2
Surface Go
Surface 3 No Mini DisplayPort

 

 

Troubleshooting solutions

If you have problems connecting your Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector, try these solutions to pinpoint or fix the issue.

 

Solution 1: Check the video input settings on the external screen

If you’ve connected your Surface to a second screen and you don’t see video output from your Surface, the problem may be with the source selection or video input settings on the second screen. For example, if you’re using an HDMI connection to a second screen, that screen must be set to recognize HDMI as the video input signal.

To check and, if necessary, change the video input setting on your second screen, follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for the screen or check the manufacturer’s website.

 

If you’ve checked the input settings on the second screen and it’s still not working, try Solution 2.

Solution 2: Duplicate or extend your display onto your external screen

Press the Windows key +P on your keyboard, or select the action center 

Notification icon in taskbar
on the taskbar, and select Project

If you want to: Choose:
See things only on your Surface display. PC screen only
See the same things on both your Surface display and on the TV, monitor, or projector. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6. Duplicate
Move what's on the screen across your Surface display and onto the TV or monitor screen. When you have displays extended, you can drag and move items between the two screens and select a different resolution for your second screen. To learn more about screen resolutions, go to Solution 6. Extend
See everything on the second screen. The display on your Surface will be blank. Second screen only
All models of Surface Studio, Surface Book, Surface Go, Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface 3 can wirelessly connect to compatible displays by using Miracast. Connect to a wireless display


If you still don’t see what you expect to see on your second screen, try Solution 3.

Solution 3: Check the video cables

Use a video cable that’s no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Longer cables can affect video quality. Make sure all the video connections are secure. Check the connection from the USB-C port, Mini DisplayPort on your Surface, or docking station, any video adapter you are using, and the connection on the video port on your TV, monitor, or projector.

  • Use the cable that came with your monitor or verify that the cable supports video. Always do this with Surface devices with USB-C ports.
  • If the cable that came with your monitor isn’t responding, use a different video cable to connect your Surface.
  • If you're using a video extension cable or video converter, remove it from your set up to see if it’s causing the problem.
  • If you're using a video adapter from another company and you're having trouble, contact the adapter's manufacturer for help.

If your monitor supports DisplayPort, we recommend that you use a Mini DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cable. DisplayPort will allow you to use the highest supported resolution and refresh rate with your Surface. These mini Display Port to DisplayPort cables work with a DisplayPort monitor:

  • Cable Matters® Gold Plated Mini DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort 6’ Cable - 4K Resolution Ready (model 101007)
  • MonoPrice Mini DisplayPort 1.2 to DisplayPort 1.2 Cable, 6ft– (Product # 13373)

If you are trying to daisy chain multiple monitors, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two monitors with DisplayPort 1.2 input ports and at least one DisplayPort output port
  • Standard DisplayPort cables with at least one Mini DisplayPort end

For Surface devices that do support daisy chaining, here’s how:

  1. Using a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, connect the Mini DisplayPort on your Surface to the DisplayPort input on the first monitor. If only one of your monitors has an output port, connect your Surface to that monitor first.
  2. Connect the output port of the first monitor to the DisplayPort input port of the other monitor.
  3. Follow the monitor manufacturer’s instructions to set both monitors to use DisplayPort 1.2 as an input source. For example, this might be called Multi-Stream Transport (MST), which allows the first monitor to pass the signal along to the second monitor.

If you've ruled out cables as the problem, go to Solution 4.

Solution 4: Check the display adapter

If you’re using an adapter (including the Surface video adapter, USB-C to HDMI Adapter, USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter, or USB-C to VGA Adapter), check your connection. Remove the adapter and reinsert it firmly to make sure it’s connected to your Surface.

If you’re using a Mini DisplayPort adapter, make sure the adapter is plugged in correctly. The adapter will only work when the connector is plugged in with the flat side of the connector aligned with the flat side of the Mini DisplayPort.

Mini DisplayPort on Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2

Here’s what a Mini DisplayPort looks like. It might be located in a different place on your Surface or docking station.

If your monitor doesn’t support DisplayPort, we recommend using HDMI. Otherwise, use DVI or VGA . The adapters listed below have been tested for compatibility and can help solve video issues.

USB-C Surface USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter for Business
Surface USB-C to HDMI Adapter
Surface USB-C to VGA Adapter
HDMI Cable Matters Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI - Active
Gofanco Gold Plated Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Active Converter
Surface Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Adapter (Model 1819) -Active
DVI Gofanco mDP to DVI Active Converter – Active
Cable Matters mDP-to-DVI (model 101022) - Active
 
Note

For best results, also use a DVI Dual Link Cable.

surface-dock-cables-325
VGA Microsoft Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA (model 1820) - Active

 

If you still don't see what you expect to see on your second screen, try Solution 5.

Here's how to clear your cache:

  1. Undock your Surface from the Surface Dock or disconnect the monitor from your Surface.
  2. Download the Surface Dock registry file. Choose to Open the file. This file will clear your cache, whether you have a dock or not.
  3. Select and run surface dock registry.reg.
  4. Select Yes to allow changes to your Surface, select Yes to confirm, and then select OK to close.
  5. Restart your Surface, reconnect the Dock and/or monitors, and try your external display again.

If you still don't see what you expect on your second screen, try Solution 6.

Solution 6: Change the supported resolution and refresh rates

When you connect your Surface to a TV or monitor, your Surface tries to set the best resolution based on the connector and the resolution of your TV or monitor. Sometimes you can change settings to improve video quality:

The resolution and refresh rate supported for the external display depends on how many displays are connected and whether the display on your Surface is on or off. It also depends on which processor you have.

For one external display, here’s the supported resolution and refresh rate:

Surface Max refresh rate Max screen resolution
Surface 3 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface 3 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Book 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Book with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Book 2 13” or 15” 60 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Go 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Go with LTE Advanced 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Laptop with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Laptop 2 with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Pro 1796 with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Pro 1796 with m3 processor 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 2 24 Hz 4096 x 2160
Surface Pro 2 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 3 24 Hz 4096 x 2160
Surface Pro 3 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 4 with Core M processor 60 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 4 with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Pro 6 with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Studio with i5 or i7 processor* 60 Hz 4096 x 2304

*See Displays that work with Surface Studio for more information on connecting external displays to your Surface Studio.

For two external displays, here’s the supported resolution and refresh rate:

Surface Max refresh rate Max screen resolution
Surface Book 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Book with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Book 2 13” or 15” 30 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Book 2 13” or 15” 60 Hz 2560 X 1600
Surface Go 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Go with LTE Advanced 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Laptop with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Laptop with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Laptop 2 with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 4096 x2 304
Surface Laptop 2 with i5 or i7 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Pro 1796 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Pro 1796 with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Pro 1796 with m3 processor 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 2 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 2 60 Hz 2560 x 1440
Surface Pro 3 with i3 processor 60 Hz 1920 x 1200
Surface Pro 3 with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 3 with i5 or i7 processor 60 Hz 2560 x 1440
Surface Pro 4 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Pro 4 with Core M processor 30 Hz 3840 x 2160
Surface Pro 4 with i5 or i7 processor 30 Hz 4096 x 2304
Surface Pro 6 with i5 or i7 processor 30hz 4096x2304
Surface Pro 6 with i5 or i7 processor 60hz 2560x1600​
Surface Studio with i5 or i7 processor* 60 Hz 2560 x 1600
Surface Studio with i5 or i7 processor* 30 Hz 4096 x 2304

*See Displays that work with Surface Studio and Studio 2 for more information on connecting external displays to your Surface Studio.

If changing the resolution of your display and adjusting desktop sizes don’t help, try Solution 7.

Solution 7: Check your monitor’s compatibility

You will find a wide variety of compatible monitors for your Surface. 

These monitors aren’t supported with Surface and Surface Dock

These monitors have connection issues with Surface and Surface Dock. We’re working with the manufacturers to resolve these issues and will update this page when we have more information. If you’re using a monitor that isn’t listed here but you are having a problem, try the solutions that follow this table.

These monitors are compatible with Surface and Surface Dock

We’re always working to add to the list of monitors that we know are compatible with Surface and Surface Dock. The following DisplayPort-capable monitors have been tested for compatibility with Surface and Surface Dock.

If your monitor isn't connecting to your Surface, check the firmware version installed on your monitor. Go to your monitor manufacturer’s website to learn how to find your monitor’s firmware version.

You can fix some DisplayPort video issues by disabling “MST mode” or “DP1.2 mode” on your monitor. Refer to the owner’s manual that came with your monitor to learn how. Disabling “MST mode” or “DP1.2 mode” on your monitor will cause display daisy-chaining to stop working. If you’re using more than one monitor, we recommend that you connect both monitors directly to your Surface Dock, one to each Mini DisplayPort on your dock.

If you find that your monitor is compatible, but still need help, try Solution 8.

Solution 8: Try the adapter on a different external display

To see if your video adapter is working, connect your Surface to a different TV, monitor, or projector. If you can’t get what’s on your Surface display to show on a different external screen, you may need to replace the adapter.

Solution 9: Consider these possibilities if your display is wireless

All models of Surface Studio, Surface Book, Surface Go, Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface 3 can wirelessly connect to compatible displays by using Miracast. You can also wirelessly connect your Surface to an HDMI-compatible display by using the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

If you're having problems wirelessly connecting your Surface to a display, try the following solutions in order. For info about how to fix problems with your Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, see Troubleshoot using the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter with Surface.