Tablets, convertibles, laptops and desktops running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system have a lot of advantages.
There’s the way that users can reset them back to factory settings and still keep all of their data in the same place it was before the reset. Windows 8 devices start up and restart faster than past Windows machines to date. Because it’s Windows 8, their USB accessory functionality simply can’t be beat, either. It’s one thing to have to rely on finding printers to support things like AirPlay. It’s quite another to simply find a printer that supports USB and just plug it into a tablet and print.
Another big advantage to Windows 8 devices are their support for external displays. Almost all Windows 8 tablets have a port that allows them to be plugged into a larger monitor or a television set. This allows Windows 8 tablets to become sort of like chameleons. They can adapt to what screen a user needs at that moment. Say a user normally only needed an 8-inch screen to browse websites or check their email. They could pair their Windows 8 device with an external display in that rare occasion that they needed to edit specific details in photos. Many Windows 8 tablet buyers use this functionality so that they can watch television shows and YouTube videos with their friends and family without having to crowd around a small tablet screen.
Before we begin showing you how to connect your Windows 8 tablet to an external monitor, it’s important to check and see if your device has the latest Windows 8 update installed. Today, that’s Windows 8.1 and it’s available in the Windows Store at absolutely no charge. If you’re unsure about whether your device has the update, head to the Windows Store by tapping or clicking on the Store icon on the Start Screen and look for a Windows 8.1 banner. If there’s no banner there your device is already running the update. You can connect your device to an external display without this update, but things on your device won’t match the screenshots provided here.
It’s also important to know the capabilities of your device. More specifically, know whether your device supports display out or not. Some low-end tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro don’t allow users to connect a monitor directly. Instead, they rely on a wireless streaming system called Miracast. Other tablets like Microsoft’s own Surface, Surface 2 and Surface Pro devices support direct connections through their Display Ports and Miracast. Now is the time to know the specifics of your device. Refer to the manual that came with it if you’re unsure.
Go to the Start Screen by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard or by pressing the Windows button below your device’s display.
Mouse and keyboard users should place their cursor in the top-right corner of their screen to open the Charms Bar, then tap on Devices. Touch users can also place their finger on the right edge of their display and swipe slightly to the right to reveal the Charms Bar. Once there, tap Devices. To be clear, this menu can be accessed from inside apps too.
Now plug in the monitor you wish to connect your device to. What this plug will look like will depend on your specific monitor and device.
Tap or click on Project.
Then select the name of display you’d like to connect to. Users trying to connect to a Miracast receiver should tap or click on Add a Wireless Display for that functionality.
Now tap or click on how you’d like your device to treat this new screen.
Choosing PC screen only will have the device show nothing on this newly paired external display. Duplicate will show the same thing on both screens. Extend allows you to treat the monitor on your device and the external monitor as one giant screen. Most people find this mode useful for multitasking. For example, you can have a web browser window open on one monitor and your email open on the other.
Finally, Second Screen Only deactivates the display inside your device and only out puts content to the external display. This is best if you want to watch a movie or won’t be using the display built-into your device to do any work.
You can change these settings at any time by navigating back to the Project menu or by pressing the Windows Key and P on your keyboard at the same time. Disconnecting your device from the external monitor at any time will restore your device back to its standalone setting. Windows 8 remembers what settings you previously used with an external display so reconnecting is always a breeze.
The key thing to remember is that Windows 8 and Windows Store apps will adapt to that new screen size the best way it can. Sometimes that will mean that text and windows are smaller or larger on that external display than they are on your device by itself. This is also specific to each monitor and Windows 8 device combo.