Troubleshoot connecting Surface to a second screen

Before you begin troubleshooting

In many cases, downloading and installing the latest updates for Windows and your Surface will fix many issues. To find out how, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

For another possible quick solution, unplug your monitor from the power outlet and then plug it back in.

Setting up your multiple-monitor desktop

Find your device in this table 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
Surface Pro 2
Surface Pro 3
Surface Pro 4
Surface Pro 5
Surface Pro 6
Surface Studio
Surface Laptop
Surface Laptop 2 
Surface Book

Yes

Mini DisplayPort

Surface Studio 2    
Surface Book 2
Surface Book 3
Surface Go
Surface Go 2
Surface Laptop 3
Surface Laptop Go
Surface Pro 7
Surface Pro X

Yes

USB-C

Surface 3

No

Mini DisplayPort

Notes: 

  • For the USB-C to HDMI adapter, we recommend using the HDMI adapter with a HDMI 2.0 cable or higher.

  • HDMI connections can also transmitaudio signals. We also recommend you use Microsoft’s USB-C adapters on the devices equipped with the USB-C port.  For more info, see Surface sound, volume, and audio accessories.

Troubleshooting solutions

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

Solution 1: Check the video input settings

If you’ve connected your Surface to a second screen and you don’t see video output from your Surface, check 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.

Note: Common video input settings include VGA, DVI, AUX, DisplayPort, HDMI, Line in, Input, and Source.

If you’ve checked the input settings on the second screen and it’s still not working, try Solution 3.

Solution 2: Check the DisplayPort version setting on the external screen

Most external screens have an on-screen menu that adjusts the DisplayPort version used by the monitor. Adjusting this setting may product better results. 

Follow the instructions in the screen's manual or check the manufacturer's website.

Solution 3: Duplicate or extend your display onto your external screen

Press the Windows logo 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 Surface models 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 4.

Solution 4: 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. Here are some tips:

  • 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.

For monitors that support DisplayPort

If your monitor supports DisplayPort, we recommend that you use a Mini DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cable that’s no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. DisplayPort will allow you to use the highest supported resolution and refresh rate with your Surface.

For a multiple monitor setup

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 support daisy chaining, here’s how to set it up:

  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 5.

Solution 5: Check the display adapter

If you’re using an adapter (like a 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 your monitor doesn’t support DisplayPort, we recommend using HDMI. Otherwise, use DVI or VGA. The adapters listed in the table have been tested for compatibility and can help solve video issues. For other options, see Officially licensed third-party accessories.

USB-C

Surface USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter for Business

Surface USB-C to HDMI Adapter

Surface USB-C to VGA Adapter

Microsoft USB-C® Travel Hub

HDMI

Surface Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Adapter (Model 1819) - Active

DVI

Gofanco mDP to DVI Active Converter (Model mDPDVIA) - Active

Cable Matters mDP-to-DVI (model 101022) - Active

Note: For best results, use a DVI Dual Link Cable.

surface-dock-cables-325

VGA

Surface Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter

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

Solution 6: Clear your display cache

Note: Don't use these steps if you are running Windows 10 in S mode.

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 7.

Solution 7: 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.

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 Book 3 13.5" or 15"

120 Hz

4096 X 2304

Surface Go

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Go with LTE Advanced

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Go 2

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Go 2 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 Laptop 3 with Intel processor

30 Hz

5120 x 3200

Surface Laptop 3 with Intel processor

60 Hz

5120 x 2880

Surface Laptop 3 with AMD processor

30 Hz

7680 x 4320

Surface Laptop 3 with AMD processor

60 Hz

5120 x 2880

Surface Laptop Go

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 Pro 7

30 Hz

5120 x 3200

Surface Pro 7

60 Hz

5120 x 2880

Surface Pro X (USB-C)

30 Hz

4096 x 2160

Surface Pro X (USB-C)

60 Hz

4096 x 2304

Surface Studio with i5 or i7 processor*

60 Hz

4096 x 2304

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 Book 3 13.5" or 15"

60 Hz

4096 X 2304

Surface Go

30 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Go with LTE Advanced

30 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Go 2

30 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Go 2 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 x 2304

Surface Laptop 2 with i5 or i7

60 Hz

2560 x 1600

Surface Laptop 3 with Intel processor

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Laptop 3 with AMD processor

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Laptop Go

30 Hz

4096 x 2304

Surface Laptop Go

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

30 Hz

4096 x 2304

Surface Pro 6 with i5 or i7 processor

60 Hz

2560 x 1600​

Surface Pro 7

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Pro X (USB-C Dual port)

60 Hz

4096 x 2304

Surface Pro X (mDP Surface Dock)

60 Hz

3840 x 2160

Surface Studio with i5 or i7 processor*

60 Hz

2560 x 1600

Surface Studio with i5 or i7 processor*

30 Hz

4096 x 2304

When using Surface Dock

When connecting through Surface Dock there’s a maximum screen refresh or resolution possible, even if some Surface model capabilities exceed this. The following table specifies the max refresh rate and screen resolution for Surface devices using either one or two external displays. 

Connected to one external monitor

Surface Dock model

Max refresh rate

Max screen resolution

Surface Dock

60Hz

4096 x 2304

Surface Dock 2

30Hz

7680 x 4320

Surface Dock 2

120Hz

3840 x 2160

Connected to two external monitors

Surface Dock model

Max refresh rate

Max screen resolution

Surface Dock

30Hz

4096 x 2304

Surface Dock

60Hz

2560 x 1600

Surface Dock 2

60Hz

3840 x 2160

When using two external displays, you may be able to achieve a higher refresh or screen resolution on one display, by lowering the refresh or screen resolution used on the other. 

If changing the resolution of your display and adjusting desktop sizes don’t help, try Solution 8.

Solution 8: Check your monitor’s compatibility

You can find a wide variety of compatible monitors for your Surface. Check your monitor and cables to make sure they have the right certifications.

Connection

Certification

HDMI

HDMI

USB-C video input

USB-IF and VESA

USB-C cable

USB-IF

DisplayPort

VESA

If you find that your monitor is compatible, but still need help, try Solution 9.

Solution 9: 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 might need to replace the adapter.

Solution 10: Consider these possibilities if your display is wireless

All Surface models can wirelessly connect to compatible displays using Miracast. To do this, press Windows logo key  P and select Connect to a wireless display. 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 Troubleshooting Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter with Surface.

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.

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

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.

Bluetooth can occasionally interfere with Miracast. Select action center Notification icon in taskbar in the taskbar and make sure Bluetooth is off.

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