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Question from Mickey W.: Hi Rick. I have an older Acer desktop computer that’s been updated to Windows 10.
I want to add a 2nd screen to that PC just to display my Gmail, but the problem is it has just one video output port.
Can I buy something like a splitter that’ll let me hook up two monitors to one video port?
I’d really like to have my Gmail open and in view at all times while I’m working on other stuff.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Rick’s answer: Mickey, you could indeed add a second monitor to your computer by using a splitter, but the result wouldn’t be what you’re after.
Since both monitors would be sharing a single video port, they would both display the same exact image. This could be useful if you wanted to duplicate the image onto a projector, but other than that it would likely be pointless.
That being said, you can easily add a second monitor to your PC and have different things showing on the two screens in one of the following ways:
1 – You can add an extra video card that supports multiple monitors to your PC and then connect one or more additional monitors, each of which can display their own image.
You didn’t mention the model number of your Acer desktop, but since it’s running Windows 8.1 I’m guessing that it isn’t ancient, which is a good thing.
What you need to do is look up the specs for your PC’s model number and see what kind of open expansion slot it has available. Then purchase a video card that’ll work in that slot.
2 – If you would rather not open up your PC and mess with its innards, you can add an extra video port by simply plugging in an inexpensive USB video adapter.
These adapters are extremely easy to install (just plug the adapter into an open USB port and install the driver). They are also very inexpensive and work quite well.
If simplicity and the lowest possible cost are your primary concerns, this would definitely be the way to go.
3 – Get yourself a USB Docking Station will provide a couple of extra HDMI video ports as well as several extra USB ports.
If it seems like you’re always in need of an extra port or three, a docking station would probably be the best way to go.
I hope this helps Mickey. Good luck!
Bonus tip: This post explains how to add a Gigabit Ethernet adapter to your PC without even opening the case!