Configure multiple displays in Windows 10

If you have multiple displays or an external projector, you might find the built-in feature of Windows 10 to change the active display and the sharing mode of your current desktop useful. The feature called Project allows the user to have only the primary screen enabled, duplicate it on a second display, extend it across all displays, or use the second screen only. Here is how it can be done.

The Project feature in Windows 10 offers the following modes:

  • PC screen only
    Only the primary display is enabled. All other connected displays will be inactive. Once you connect a wireless projector, this option changes its name to Disconnect.
  • Duplicate
    Duplicates the primary display on the second display.
  • Extend
    Your desktop will be extended across the all connected monitors.
  • Second screen only
    The primary display will be disabled. Use this option to switch to the external display only.

You can pick the most convenient method to access the Project feature in Windows 10.

Quick Actions in the Action Center

Action Center in Windows 10 is a special pane which keeps various types of notifications and provides quick access to useful actions that can be performed with one click or tap. By default, it has a quick action button named "Project". It might be hidden by default:

Click the 'Expand' link to see the full set of quick actions:

There, you'll find the Project option. Click it to choose the desired mode:

Option to configure multiple displays in Settings app

It is possible to configure the multiple displays using the Settings app as follows.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to System -> Display:
  3. On the right, set the desired mode for multiple displays using the appropriate dropdown option:

Using the DisplaySwitch.exe app

The built-in Windows utility, DisplaySwitch.exe, allows you to specify which display to use and how to use it. The application is located in the folder C:\Windows\System32.

It is possible to use it to control the Project feature via the command line, so you can create a shortcut to any of available modes. Tip: You can try these options from the Run dialog. Open it with the Win + R shortcut and type the command specified below in the Run box.

DisplaySwitch.exe /internal

The /internal argument is used to switch your PC to use the primary display only.

DisplaySwitch.exe /external

Use this command to switch to the external display only.

DisplaySwitch.exe /clone

Duplicates the primary display.

DisplaySwitch.exe /extend

Expands your Desktop to the secondary display.

That's it. Now you can create a shortcut with the appropriate command.

  1. Right click your Desktop and select New - Shortcut in the context menu:
  2. In the location of the item box, type or copy-paste the desired command for the mode that you want to use for multiple displays:
  3. Name your shortcut as you want and set the desired icon:

Using global hotkeys

In Windows 10, there are shortcut keys available to open the Project feature directly. Press the Win + P shortcut keys together on the keyboard. This will open the Project flyout.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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