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How do I Connect a Monitor to a Computer?

Article ID : 274555Date Published : 2007-05-15Journal ID : fbc7ebe8-9988-486f-8ce9-ad9e179f6456
Article Summary: This is an instructional document on how to connect your monitor to your computer using the Compare, Connect, Correct methodology.

Table of Contents:

  1. Compare: Physical Connections
  2. Connect: Physical Connections
  3. Correct: Video and Monitor Settings


Step 1: Compare: Physical Connections
  1. Plug the power cable into the back of the monitor, then connect the opposite end into a power outlet or power source.
    • Monitors do not receive power through the video signal cable, but instead need their own power connection.

  2. Compare the back of your computer to the back of your monitor, use the table below to ensure that you connect the correct video cable to the correct video port on the back of your computer and monitor.

    • Laptop Computers: Most Laptop computers have a port on the side or back of the computer to connect an external monitor. You will use this port and the corresponding video cable to connect your Laptop to an external monitor.

    • Desktop Computers: Look at the back of the computer (Figure 1) to check for any installed add-in video cards. Usually, integrated video cards are automatically disabled when an add-in video card is installed. The monitor must be connected to the add-in video card, if present.

      Figure 1: Video Connectors On the Back of a Desktop Computer
       
      Numbers reference image above:
      Add-in Video Card in Expansion Slot
      Integrated Video Card Connector

    Connect the Monitor to the connection, if you do not have an Add-in Video Card, connect it to the connection. Do not connect your monitor to both connections.
  3. Use the table below to ensure correct cable usage along with best video display results with your configuration.
    Note:  
      Use only one video signal cable to connect the monitor to the computer. Only one connection is necessary and connecting more than one can cause problems.  

    Table 1: Video Connections

    Display Port

    Display Port is a new digital standard for connecting monitors to computers and has the capability to provide a scalable digital display interface with optional audio and high-definition content protection (HDCP) capability. Display Ports usually resemble USB Ports with one side angled.
    A Display Port cable should be used if Display Port connectors are available on both the computer and the monitor.

    DVI

    Digital Video Interface (DVI) is the digital standard for connecting monitors to computers. DVI connections are usually color-coded with white plastic and labels.
    DVI cables provide a higher quality signal than VGA cables. A DVI cable should be used if DVI connectors are available on both the computer and the monitor.

    VGA

    Video Graphics Array (VGA) is the analog standard for connecting monitors to computers. VGA connections are commonly color-coded with blue plastic and labels.
    A VGA cable should be used if DVI connectors are not available on either the monitor or the computer.

    HDMI

    High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the current digital standard for connecting all kinds of video devices.
    HDMI cables provide the same quality of video signal as DVI. However HDMI can provide sound through the cable but the Video Card has to support the Audio through HDMI function in order for it to work.

    Note:  
      Add-in video cards that use a connector type other than DVI or VGA require a cable adapter, or dongle, to connect to a monitor.  
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Step 2: Connect: Physical Connections

Using the appropriate video cable for your configuration, connect your Monitor to your Computer.
  1. Plug in the power cord to the monitor and the wall outlet.

    Figure 2: Power connection from the monitor to the wall outlet.
     Note:
    The example below uses a VGA connection from the monitor to the computer. Depending upon your monitor and computer, you may be able to use a different type of connection as listed in Table 1: Video Connections.
  2. Plug in the video cable to the monitor and the back of the computer.

    Figure 3: VGA cable from a monitor to a desktop computer.


    Figure 4: VGA cable from a monitor to a laptop.
  3. (Optional) If your monitor has USB ports on it, you can plug a USB cable from your monitor to your computer for the USB ports on your monitor to function.
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Step 3: Correct: Video and Monitor Settings

1. Set the Input
On most Dell monitors there is a Quick Access or Input button This button allows you to change your monitor to the selected Inputs such as: VGA, Digital/DVI, Display port and various other video input sources that your monitor may have.
Press the Quick Access or Input button to change to the correct video input source.

2. Install/Update Video Driver
Install or Update your Video card driver, this driver will help your monitor perform at its visual best.
Visit the Dell Drivers and Downloads website and input your Service Tag to get updates specific to your computer.
Refer for instructions to
download and install drivers or BIOS from the Dell Drivers and Downloads Website


3. Configure Video Settings
Configure your Resolution, Color depth, and Font Size, to exactly what visual suits you!
By changing your video settings you can change the look of your screen including Icon Size, Font Size and Color depth.
Instructions to change video settings in Win 8, Win 7, Win Vista and Win XP

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