How To Connect an External Monitor to a Toshiba Laptop Computer

Laptop computers are great when it comes to portability. When you are a frequent traveler, netbook computers are even better, as they are lighter and have longer battery life. Toshiba’s notebooks and netbooks are touted for their build quality, long service life and excellent feature set.

However, the main disadvantage of laptops is that their screen size usually leaves much to desire, especially the smaller ones. Portege laptops usually come in 10, 11 and 12-inch form factors. These are easy on the backpack, but might hurt your eyes during extended use. Even larger Qosmio and Satellite series will be better, but they still can’t beat standard 19 and 23-inch LCD screens.

Connecting an external monitor to a Toshiba laptop computer is a cinch if you know how to do it right. It will involve finding the right connector, the right video port, and the right settings.

  • Most computer monitors have a built-in VGA connector. However, LCD monitors will usually have two connectors: a VGA connector for analog input and a DVI connector for digital input. Most Apple computers and higher-end laptops use DVI. However, most Toshiba laptops use VGA.
  • It’s usually best to connect your computer to the monitor while turned off. However, since most computers and monitors today are plug-and-play, you can already plug in your monitor even when the laptop is turned on. Note, though, that this might disrupt any work you are currently doing, since the computer will automatically adjust resolutions on both the LCD and the external screen to match the latter’s resolution.
  • Connect the VGA connector to your Toshiba laptop’s VGA port.
  • Turn on the computer and the monitor. While booting up, your computer might output to the laptop screen only, to the external screen only, or both.
  • When Windows starts up, you can choose which monitor to output to. If you are using Windows 7, you can use the Windows key + P combination to cycle through a set of built-in options. “Disconnect Projector” will set the display only on the laptop screen. “Duplicate” mirrors whatever is on the laptop screen onto the external screen. “Extend” will turn your computer into a multi-display setup. “Projector Only” will turn off the laptop’s display.
  • With other versions of Windows, you can do this by pressing the Fn key and the monitor button on your keyboard. Look for this in the Function keys at the topmost row on your keyboard. On Toshiba laptops, this is usually the F5 key. So, press Fn-F5 to cycle through different screen options.
  • You can also right-click on any empty part of your desktop, and then select “Graphics Properties” to set up your external monitor. If you are extending your display to the external monitor, you can modify where the monitor is located. By default, you can go to your extended screen by running your mouse to the right of your laptop screen. Adjusting thus can be useful if your external monitor is situated to the left or above your laptop.

Before you disconnect your monitor, be sure to turn off mirroring or desktop extension first, to make sure you don’t lose any work or anything you’re working on in that screen.


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