Trouble connecting Surface to a second screen?

Applies to: Surface Devices

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

Before you begin

Make sure your TV, monitor, or projector is plugged in to a working electrical outlet and turned on. If you're using a power strip, make sure it's plugged in and turned on, too.

To find out how to connect your Surface to a second screen, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.

Picture of the Surface Dock, with the one of the Mini DisplayPorts in a magnified view
Picture of the back of the Surface docking station, with the Mini DisplayPort magnified
If you're having problems connecting your Surface to another display using your Surface Dock, see Troubleshoot Surface Dock. If you're having problems connecting your Surface to another display using your Surface docking station, see Troubleshoot docking stations for Surface Pro and Surface 3.

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

Solution 1: Get the latest updates

In many cases, downloading and installing the latest updates for Windows and your Surface will fix the issue.  To see how go to Install Surface and Windows updates.

If installing updates doesn’t help, go to Solution 2.

Solution 2: Check your video input settings

If you’re trying to connect to a second screen and you don’t see video output from your Surface, the problem may be with the video input settings on the second screen. For example, if you’re using a VGA connection to a second screen, that screen must be set to recognize VGA 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 3.

Solution 3: Remove and reinsert the video 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), make sure it’s connected securely to your Surface. Remove the adapter and reinsert it firmly to make sure.

Note: Avoid using a “Y” or “dual-link” adapter that splits the signal between two or more monitors.

If you’re using a Mini DisplayPort adapter, make sure the adapter is plugged in correctly:  it’ll 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 you still don't see what you expect to see on your second screen, try Solution 4.

Solution 4: Make sure your video cables are plugged in correctly

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, to pinpoint whether the cable might be causing the problem, use a different video cable to connect your Surface.
  • If you're using a video extension cable or video converter, try removing it from your setup 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 you've ruled out cables as the problem, go to Solution 5.

Solution 5: Duplicate or extend your display onto your second screen

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

Notification icon in taskbar
on the taskbar, and select Project. Then, select one of these options:

Choose If you want to
PC screen See things only on your Surface display.
Duplicate 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.
Extend 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.
Second screen only See everything on the second screen. The display on your Surface will be blank.

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

Solution 6: Change your second screen’s resolution settings

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 those settings to improve video quality.

Set your second screen to its native resolution

Change the size of text and other things on the desktop

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

Solution 7: 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 second screen, you may need to replace the adapter.

Trouble connecting to a wireless display?

Surface Studio devices, Surface Book devices, Surface Go, Surface Pro devices, 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 information about how to fix problems with your Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, see Troubleshoot using the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter with Surface.

Make sure your display supports Miracast

To wirelessly connect your Surface to a display without using the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, the display must be compatible with Miracast. Visit the manufacturer's website to see if your TV, monitor, or projector supports Miracast.

Restart your Surface and your TV, monitor, or projector

Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve the issue. On your Surface, go to Start > Power > Restart. Turn the TV or other display off and on, then try connecting them again.

Install the latest updates

In many cases, downloading and installing the latest updates for Windows and your Surface will fix the issue. To see how go to Install Surface and Windows updates.

Turn off Bluetooth on your Surface

Bluetooth can occasionally interfere with Miracast. Select action center

Notification icon in taskbar
in the taskbar and make sure Bluetooth is off.