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Using your laptop as a monitor: How to use your notebook as a second screen

In this tip you will learn how you can use your laptop as a monitor for another PC, a Raspberry Pi or the Playstation 4.

If you have a laptop and a PC, you can Use the laptop as a second monitor. In most cases you don't need any new hardware or software. We also present options for the Playstation 4 or the Raspberry Pi.

  • With Miracast, a function is already implemented in Windows with which the desktop can be extended to an external screen
  • Software like Spacedesk can also project the image on an Android or iOS device.
  • You can bring the desktop of the Raspberry Pi to the laptop with VNC.

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1. A second monitor offers many advantages

The Windows desktop cannot be big enough with many open windows of programs. A second screen can extend the desktop and thus offers a lot of comfort in daily work. For example, while Outlook is open on one screen, you can work relaxed in an Excel table on the second screen without losing sight of the mail. Gamers also benefit from two screens and can use them to display the map for a level or the Discord chat on one monitor, for example, while the actual game is shown on the other monitor.

2. Connections on the laptop are not suitable

If you now try to lay an HDMI cable from the PC to the notebook: leave it. The graphics connections on laptops and PCs such as DVI, VGA, HDMI or DisplayPort are only outputs. A PC or laptop does not accept any information at these interfaces in order to display an image on its own screen.

The HDMI, VGA, DVI or DisplayPort connections are only switched as outputs.

3. Using the laptop as a monitor is often not a problem under Windows 8.x and Windows 10

If you already own a laptop with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 pre-installed, you already have everything you need to extend the desktop from your PC to the laptop. With Miracast, Microsoft has implemented a technology in Windows with which a laptop can wirelessly connect to a television or projector.

What many do not know: With Miracast you can also declare a laptop to be the receiver and project the screen from another PC onto the laptop.

3.1. How to set up Miracast to use the laptop as a screen

In order for the wireless transmission of image and sound to the laptop to work, both devices must be in the same network are located, wirelessly connected and that on both sides Miracast protocol must be installed, which is included with the start of Windows 8 in Windows. Since Windows 10 version 2004 this is only an optional feature and must therefore be included in the Settings -> Apps & Features -> Optional Features -> Add Feature as a wireless display first subsequently installed become.

Install wireless display afterwards

Once the protocol is installed, switch to the Settings -> System -> Project on this PC.

You can not only activate the reception of Miracast for the laptop here, but also check on each PC whether the built-in WLAN adapter supports Miracast at all.

Both the Both the sender and the receiver must support Miracast. This is mostly the case with newer systems. Older laptops can cause problems here. In this case you will find under point 3 an alternative solution.

If Miracast reception is not possible, you cannot use the laptop as a screen in this way.

If both devices support Miracast, activate the function for projecting on the PC on the laptop. It is up to you whether you activate the security settings such as a PIN or a question about the connection request.

Use laptop as second screen - projecting on this PC activated.

On the PC whose desktop is to be extended, you can then use the Windows key combinationWIN + P the projection menuCall ü. Here you select the type of projection (mirror or extend) and can use the text link "Connect to wireless display“Establish a connection with the laptop and use its screen for the laptop of the PC.

Connect to wireless display to use laptop as a screen.

In the Windows display settings, you can then specify where the monitor is positioned.

The laptop as an additional screen can still be arranged.

4. Spacedesk as an alternative to using the laptop as a monitor

If your systems do not meet the requirements for using Miracast, there is an exciting alternative with the free Spacedesk. The tool basically does the same thing as Miracast and transfers or extends the desktop to another screen. Compared to Miracast, this also works under Windows 7 and even with mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones under Android or iOS.

To set up, install on the PC whose desktop is to be extended, the server component.

Spacedesk Server

In the second step you need on the device whose Screen to be used to display the client software.

Spacedesk client

In contrast to the Miracast solution, you now establish the connection from the client side to the server. The screen of the client device is then used by the server PC to expand the desktop in the usual way by Windows.

You can still adjust the image quality and frame rate on the client, since the image is very heavily compressed in the standard settings.

5. VNC as a universal solution

With VNC (Virtual Network Computing) there is a free universal solution for PC and other systems, which also runs under Linux and thus offers the possibility to display the Raspberry Pi on a Windows desktop. Since VNC is remote desktop software, you can also use the keyboard and mouse on the laptop to control the operating system on the Raspberry Pi.

The individual steps required to display the Raspberry Pi on the laptop screen are very well explained in the following video:

You can find German text instructions in the electronics compendium.

RDP instead of VNC: Instead of VNC, the remote desktop protocol already included in Windows can also be used, as described on the website PI-Buch.info.

6. Show PS4 on laptop screen

Even the Playstation 4 can be viewed on a laptop. Sony offers the right software for this with Remote Play. With the help of this software, the picture of the Playstation can be displayed on any PC or laptop, while the calculation of the game takes place on the Playstation, so to speak, only streamed to the laptop. You can even use the original wireless controller of the PS to play, but you have to connect via USB without a special adapter.

We have described in detail how to set up and use Remote Play in the article PlayStation 4 now with streaming function for Windows and Mac.

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Using your laptop as a monitor: How to use your notebook as a second screen
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