Laptops offer a great deal of convenience, mainly because they are portable and are easy to carry around. But using a laptop for work extensively for hours at a stretch can make you feel cramped and uncomfortable because of the reduced keyboard and screen size. In addition, some people would prefer to use an actual mouse instead of the built-in pointing device. A solution to this problem is to connect external devices to your laptop.
This would practically turn your laptop into a desktop replacement, so you can have a full-sized monitor and keyboard, and a real mouse when you’re at your office desk. And when you need to be on the go, you can just unplug the peripherals and stick your laptop into your bag.
Modern laptops come with enough ports to make adding external peripherals easy. Here’s how to connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse to your laptop.
To add an external monitor
To be safe, first switch off your laptop and take off the power plug. Most laptops would let you plug in a monitor while turned on, but turning it off would be a good safety measure.
Set up the monitor you want to connect near the laptop. Check what type of connector the monitor has. Check the back or the sides of the laptop to find the corresponding port. Most laptops have a video graphics array (VGA) interface. Others, particularly Apple Macintosh laptops, use a digital visual interface (DVI) or mini DVI. Some laptops might also have separate video (S-Video) ports, meant for displaying on a television set. DVI ports are usually white, and most VGA ports are blue. VGA ports are usually used to connect monitors either LCD or older style CRT monitors.
After plugging in the connector, tighten the screws in place (if there are screw threads on your laptop), and switch on the monitor. It will show your operating system loading. In case it doesn’t load, check your laptop’s keyboard to find the function key FN and display switch function key. This is usually identified as the one which has a monitor icon or has “CRT/ LCD” written on it. Press it together with the function (FN) key and wait for a few seconds till your monitor responds.
Usually the additional monitor mirrors your laptop screen by default. But it can be configured to extend the desktop across both the screens. To do this, open “properties” by ‘right clicking’ on your operating system’s desktop. Go to “settings” and arrange the virtual monitor displays by dragging the boxes to the location corresponding to the actual monitors. Now select the additional monitor, check "extend my windows desktop," and then click “OK.”
To connect a keyboard
Now to connect an additional keyboard, check for vacant ports around the laptop. Older laptops would have round PS/2 ports while new ones no longer have PS/2 ports, but instead have USB ports. Determine the type of port your laptop has, and make sure your external keyboard uses a compatible interface. Plug it in. If the keyboard isn’t recognized automatically go to "Start Menu” click “Settings” and go to “Control Panel". Click on "Add Hardware" and follow the instructions on screen.
To add a mouse
Using the same method as with the keyboard, you can also add an external mouse to use with your laptop. Older laptops use a PS/2 connector, which is round-shaped. However, any laptop with USB ports can use a USB mouse. Plugging in a mouse will set it up automatically. Otherwise, you will need to go to the “Add Hardware” application under your system’s Control Panel.
Modern laptops let you plug in devices and peripherals with plug and play ease. Adding a keyboard, mouse and monitor would not only give you an added level of comfort when using your laptop, but these can also help enhance the functionality, particularly with a dual-screen setup.