Dual monitors are exciting additions to any PC setup, allowing for more detailed images and wider screens.
Windows 10 has made multiple displays super-easy by automatically setting up the whole process.
However, sometimes, you may experience issues, such as lags between screens, affecting your gaming or video-watching experience.
This post will talk about how you can fix the dual monitor lag in Windows 10.
Dual Monitor Lag Windows 10 (How To Fix)
1. Try Basic Solutions
Before doing anything special, you may want to check some basic things as the problem may not be as serious as you think.
The first thing you can do is restart your whole system, especially if it’s a one-time problem.
The lag issue may be due to temporary glitches and will go away by rebooting.
Close all the apps and games on both monitors and reboot the system.
Another thing you can try is to change your connection cords
Different connectors may perform differently in bringing up the images.
You may be using a cable such as VGA, HDMI, DVI, or DisplayPort, which may differ between the two monitors.
Try switching the cables and see if the problem goes away.
You may also want to change the cable if it’s old.
In this case, it’s better to choose a shorter cable because it has less interference and reduces the chances of possible glitches and lags.
Another quick solution recommended by Microsoft is to use a Windows key sequence to solve any issues that come up with multiple screens.
Press Windows Key + CTRL + Shift + B simultaneously for a few seconds and see if it can help.
2. Check Both Monitors’ Refresh Rate
One of the most frequently mentioned reasons for screen stuttering is that the screens don’t have the same refresh rates.
When one screen refreshes faster than the other, the system will get confused, and you’ll have delayed images while playing games or watching videos.
Your screen’s refresh rate shows how many times per second an image refreshes on the screen.
If your screen updates images 60 times per second, it has a 60Hz refresh rate.
To change the monitor’s refresh rate on Windows 10,
- Open the “Start” menu and go to “Settings.”
- Locate “System” and choose “Display > Advanced Display Settings.”
- Here, you can see the monitors hooked up to your computer by clicking on the “Monitor” tab.
- Choose one monitor at a time and adjust their refresh rate to your desired value in the drop-down list, making sure they’re the same.
- Now, reboot your computer and check if the problem is solved.
If the problem persists, you could try changing the monitors’ refresh rates so that one is the multiple of another.
For example, if one monitor’s refresh rate is 60 Hz, set the other one at 120 Hz.
Most of the time, the performance improves, but if it doesn’t, try the following solutions.
3. Run A Hardware Troubleshooter
Sometimes unknown hardware issues can be the main culprit in dual monitor lags.
You can rely on Windows itself to detect the issue and resolve it.
- Go to the search bar on the lower left-hand corner of the screen and type “Troubleshoot”.
- Locate “Hardware and Devices” and click on it.
- Run the troubleshooter by clicking “OK” and then follow the on-screen prompts.
- Check if the problem still exists.
Note that you can connect any two monitors of different refresh rates, resolutions, and even sizes as long as you use the right connections.
However, if they’re significantly different from each other, you can’t fix the problem and may need to upgrade to a better monitor.
If one monitor has significantly lower specs than the other, don’t put it under added pressure by overclocking its specs.
4. Update Display Drivers
Another reason for dual monitor stuttering could be outdated drivers or incompatible hardware.
Windows automatically updates all the drivers regularly.
However, it sometimes can’t install all the updates properly.
Therefore, it’s better to manually update the drivers or reinstall them if you’re more comfortable.
To update the driver:
Type “Device Manager” in the search box at the left side of the taskbar.
Select “Monitors” and right-click on it.
Choose “Search automatically for updated driver software” and click on “Update Driver.”
If there are new updates available, Windows will automatically install them.
Alternatively, you could reinstall the driver after uninstalling it.
To do so…
Enter “Device Manager” in the search box and click on “Device Manager.”
Locate “Monitors,” right-click on it, and select “Uninstall.”
After you restart your computer, Windows will automatically reinstall the driver.
You could also go to the manufacturer’s website, search for the driver, and install it manually.
There are third-party apps as well that can automatically update your drivers more effectively than Windows.
Driver Booster is one of these tools that detects the second monitor and makes sure it’s always updated.
5. Roll Back The Drivers
If you are experiencing the lag issue after a recent update, it could be the main culprit.
In this case, rolling back to the previous driver version may fix the issue.
Type “Device Manager” in the search bar and find “Display Adapters.”
Select your display adapter, go to “Properties,” and look for the “Driver” tab.
Choose “Roll Back Driver” to go back to the previous version and see if it fixed the problem.
6. Disable Hardware Acceleration On Your Browser
Hardware acceleration is a capability of computer systems that’s becoming more and more widespread as games and apps continue to grow.
It allows games and apps to use parts of your system’s hardware to enhance their overall performance.
That’s because the processor’s capacity isn’t enough for today’s apps to reach their full performance.
One of these apps is web browsers, which need extra power to work to their full capacity.
They turn to graphics and sound cards to get more power.
That’s why turning off hardware acceleration can solve the lag issue in your screens.
This way, the browser can’t use the GPU’s power to perform tasks, leaving the GPU free to handle all the requests.
To disable hardware acceleration in Chrome,
- Locate the three-dotted icon on the upper right-hand corner of the Chrome window and click on it.
- Go to “Settings,” find “hardware acceleration,” and turn off “use hardware acceleration when available” by moving the toggle.
- Then select “Relaunch.”
To disable hardware acceleration on Firefox,
- Click on the three-lined icon in the upper right-hand corner of the window and select “Options.”
- Look for “Hardware Acceleration” and remove the checkmark on “Use Recommended Performance Settings.”
- Now, uncheck the “use hardware acceleration when available” option.
7. Turn Off Aero Themes
Although Windows Aero themes look pretty cool and give your desktop a rich and amazing look, they can be GPU-intensive.
Although Windows has discontinued these themes on Windows 10, some users have been able to bring them back using third-party apps.
If you’re one of those users, these themes may be the real cause of your second monitor’s sluggish performance.
Many users have reported that their lag issue disappeared when they disabled the Aero themes.
Give it a try and check if it fixes the issue.
8. Check The Monitors’ Resolution
Each monitor should be set on its native resolution.
Otherwise, it will lead to lags because it can’t show the images properly.
Sometimes, when you connect the second monitor, it may borrow settings from the older monitor, which uses a lower resolution, or it may be trying to match its settings with those of the primary monitor.
To make sure your monitors are using their native displays:
- Type “Display Settings” in the search bar and choose the monitor you want to set.
- Locate “Scale and Layout” for your monitor and select “Display Resolution” from the drop-down menu.
- Select the screen resolution recommended by Windows 10.
9. Disable Windows Transparency
Another feature of Windows that can affect the screen’s performance, leading to screen lagging, is transparency.
That’s because it takes a lot of energy for Windows to maintain transparency effects.
When you turn these effects off, you can clear up lots of space for Windows to improve performance.
Right-click on any point on the desktop and select “Personalize.”
Go to “Window Color,” toggle off the “Enable Transparency” option, and then save changes.
That’s the easiest way to access transparency options, but you could also access it through the settings app > personalization > colors or settings > ease of access > display.
10. Go Through The Dual Monitor Setup Process Again
If you haven’t connected the monitors correctly, you may experience screen lag and other issues.
It’s a good idea to go through the process again and make sure you’ve done everything correctly.
Windows 10 supports multiple displays, so you won’t have any problems with the Windows system.
When you connect the new monitor, Windows automatically detects it and sets up the connection.
However, you should check some key factors:
A. Check Your Monitor Connection Ports
You can see the connections that your PC can support on the I/O panel.
The display connections include HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, DVI, and VGA.
Make sure both monitors have at least two connection ports in common.
This way, you can connect the monitors without adaptors, preventing many problems.
B. Check GPU Specs
You should also make sure your GPU supports multiple display setups because it’s a GPU-intensive task.
If your GPU doesn’t support it, you can use a dedicated graphics card, such as Nvidia, and connect each monitor to one of the graphic cards.
C. Choose Your Desired Settings
After picking the right monitors and connecting them, you can set up the connection by right-clicking on the desktop and opening the display settings.
You can see your primary and secondary monitors, their positions, and their image styles.
Check the resolutions based on the GPU specs and your purposes.
After setting up both monitors, test the monitors by dragging different apps between the two monitors to ensure everything is appropriately set up.
For Nvidia Users
If you have an Nvidia GPU, the solutions may vary slightly.
That’s because the type of GPU may affect your screen’s performance in different ways.
1. Change G-SYNC To Fixed Refresh
This is the first and easiest solution that has worked for many Nvidia users.
To change the monitor technology of the specific game you’re playing,
- Go to the Nvidia control panel.
- Locate “Manage 3D Settings” on the left panel and click on it.
- Navigate to “Program Settings.”
- Open the “Select a Program to Customize” menu and select your game.
- Locate “Monitor Technology” in the list of features and see if it’s set on G-SYNC.
- If so, change it to “Fixed Refresh” and click “Apply.”
This solution is good if you have a lagging problem for specific games.
However, if it doesn’t solve the issue or you have a lag issue for your whole system, you need to turn off the G-SYNC option for your entire system.
To turn off G-SYNC
- Go to the Nvidia Control Panel and click on “Display.”
- Find “Set up G-SYNC” and uncheck “Enable G-SYNC, G-SYNC Compatible.”
- Then, click on “Apply” and reboot your computer.
This way, you’ll fix the stuttering problem on all the games and apps that you use on both monitors.
2. Switch To Intel Graphics
If you share your Nvidia GPU between the two monitors, you can hook up your second monitor to the built-in graphics of your motherboard to let the Nvidia GPU focus on the games.
First, enable the integrated graphics card by reinstalling it and then connect it to the second monitor.
Now, you should get your apps to use the Intel GPU:
- Right-click on any point on the desktop and choose “Display Settings.”
- Locate “Graphics Settings” on the right panel and click on it.
- Find “Choose an app to set preference,” choose “Classic App,” and then “Browse.”
- Then choose the app that you want to force to run on the integrated GPU.
- Next, select Options > Set Classic Preference.
- Now, choose the power-saving GPU to shift to the integrated Intel graphics.
3. Check Nvidia Shadowplay
Nvidia Shadowplay is a Geforce Experience built-in tool that captures the user’s in-game screen to enable instant replay.
However, it uses a considerable GPU capacity to capture both screens simultaneously, especially at large resolutions.
To check if it’s on, open Shadowplay by pressing the ALT + Z keys.
Now check if Instant Replay is on, and if you don’t need it, turn it off.
Other Problems With Dual Monitors
In addition to screen lags, some other issues may occur while connecting two monitors to your system.
Here are some of the most frequently reported ones:
1. No Signal Alert
If you see the “No signal” alert on your second screen, try the following solutions:
- Check the Power Cables. Damaged or bent cords can break the connections, preventing them from getting a signal. You could try using new cables or swap them with cords from a monitor you know is working.
- Remove Adapters. If you have an old display, there might be a VGA or DVI adapter converting the VGA connection to HDMI. See if you can remove the adapter and connect the cable directly from the system to the monitor. If not, use an adapter from a monitor that you’re sure isn’t faulty.
- Check for Hardware Issues. You can check for hardware issues by running the hardware troubleshooter discussed above. Alternatively, you could connect the monitor to another system. If it works properly, it shows that the monitor doesn’t have hardware issues.
- Check Your Video Card Capabilities. Sometimes your second monitor doesn’t get signals through no fault of its own. Rather, it may be because your graphics card can’t support multiple monitor configurations. Research your system or graphics card specs to make sure it’s capable of running multiple displays.
- Make Windows Detect the Second Monitor. If Windows hasn’t detected your second monitor, you’ll get the no-signal alert. To solve the issue, go to “Display Settings” by right-clicking the desktop. Then, choose “Detect” to force Windows 10 to look for the new monitor.
2. Duplicate Images
You want your second display to give you an extended view, making your view wider.
However, sometimes, it just duplicates the first monitor’s images instead of extending them.
Here’s how to solve this problem:
Right-click on any point on your desktop to open a pop-up menu.
Select “Display Settings” and locate your second monitor in the Display panel.
When the second screen is highlighted, go to “Multiple Displays,” and open the drop-down menu.
Choose “Extend Desktop to this Display.”
Go back to the Display diagram and adjust the placement of your second monitor by dragging it to the left or right side of your current screen using your mouse.