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If you have followed the recommended steps at Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector to connect your external display and are you're having trouble here are some things to try.

Check for system updates

You can quickly check the health of your Surface drivers and firmware using the Surface app.

Open the Surface app

  1. In the Surface app, expand Help & support to check the update status.

  2. If there are updates available, select the Check for updates button to open Windows Update and install the available updates. 

    Note: If you don't have the Surface app installed, you can download the Surface app from the Microsoft Store. When it has downloaded, select Start, search for Surface, then select the app from the list of results.

Troubleshooting solutions

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

Solution 1: Power reset your external display

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

Solution 2: Check the video input settings

If you’ve connected your Surface to an external display, make sure your external display is set to the current port. For example, if you’re using a DisplayPort connection to an external display, that display must be set to recognize DisplayPort as the video input signal.

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

Solution 3: Check the port version setting on the external display

Most external displays have an on-screen menu that adjusts the port version used by the display. Adjusting this setting may produce better results. 

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

Solution 4: Duplicate or extend your display onto your external display

Press the Windows logo key P on your keyboard, then select what you want to do according to the following table:

If you want to

Choose

See things only on your Surface.

PC display only

See the same things on both your Surface and on the external display (to learn more about display resolutions, go to Solution 7).

Duplicate

Move what's on your Surface to an external display. When you have displays extended, you can drag and move items between the two displays and select a different resolution for your external display (to learn more about display resolutions, go to Solution 7).

Extend

See everything on the external display only (your Surface will be blank).

External display only

Wirelessly connect to compatible displays by using Miracast (all Surface models can do this).

Connect to a wireless display

Solution 5: Check the video cables

Cables are an essential part of having a working connection to your external display. We recommend using Designed for Surface Accessories. Otherwise, here are things to consider and check:

  • If using an HDMI video cable, make sure it's rated version 2.0, or, if using DisplayPort cable, it's rated 1.2, and is no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Longer cables can affect video quality.

  • If using thunderbolt connection with USB-C, make sure your cable is rated version 4.0.

  • Make sure all the video connections are secure. Check the connection from the USB-C port or Mini DisplayPort on your Surface, docking station, any video adapter you are using, and the input connection on your external display.

  • Use the cable that came with your monitor, and if using USB-C, confirm it supports video.

  • 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 adapter or converter, remove it from your set up to see if it’s causing the problem.

  • If you're using a non-Surface video adapter, contact the adapter's manufacturer for help/troubleshooting.

For a multiple monitor setup

For external displays compatible with daisy chain, please contact display manufacturer for configuration details and specifications. 

As an example, here is how to set up daisy chain with DisplayPort: 

  1. Using a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, connect the Mini DisplayPort on your Surface to the DisplayPort input on the first external display. If only one of your external displays has an output port, connect your Surface to that external display first.

  2. Connect the output port of the first external display to the DisplayPort input port of the other external display.

  3. Follow the monitor manufacturer’s instructions to set both external displays to use DisplayPort 1.2 as an input source. For example, this might be called Multi-Stream Transport (MST), which allows the first display to pass the signal along to the second external display.

Solution 6: 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 or USB-C, 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: Use an Active Dual-Linked DVI cable to connect to your external display.

surface-dock-cables-325

VGA

Surface Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter

Note: Avoid using a “Y” splitter cable that splits the signal between two or more external displays.

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 external display, you might need to replace the adapter.

Solution 8: Clear your display cache

Note: Don't use these steps if you're running Windows 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.

Related topic

Troubleshoot Surface Dock and docking stations

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