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I have 2 laptops using Windows 10.

  • Office Laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad)

  • Home Laptop (Dell)

I want to learn how to use one of these laptops as an extended display.

I'm confused how many adapters I need.

Here are the possible configurations:

  • USB-->USB

  • HDMI-->HDMI

  • USB-->HDMI

How do I connect these two? What hardware do I need to buy for them?

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    Most laptops don't support display input so it would be weird if that's even possible
    – Irsu85
    Oct 10, 2023 at 5:35
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    You can't do this with two laptops at all. You can't drag any windows between laptops. There is a way to make one laptop share its mouse with both so that you can move it across to the other computer and control whatever is on the screen there; But this is a software solution so you should ask about this on the appropriate Stack Exchange site for that.
    – Romen
    Oct 10, 2023 at 17:28
  • A hardware solution would be a nice trick, but for software recommendations, the SE site is: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com Oct 16, 2023 at 9:03

1 Answer 1

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Using one of your laptops as an extended display for the other isn't a matter of just connecting them with a cable, because laptops typically have only video-out ports, not video-in. This means that you cannot usually use a laptop's screen as a monitor for another device directly through video cables.

However, Windows 10 does offer a feature called "Wireless Display" which you can use to extend or mirror your screen onto another Windows device. This feature uses the Miracast protocol, which works over Wi-Fi. Both laptops would need to support Miracast and have Wi-Fi enabled.

Here's how you can set it up:

On the laptop you want to use as the second monitor (the "Home Laptop" for example), do the following:

Go to 'Settings' > 'System' > 'Projecting to this PC'. Adjust the settings to your preference. You'll likely want to set it to "Available everywhere" and "First time only" for pairing. On your main laptop (the "Office Laptop"), do the following:

Make sure Wi-Fi is turned on and both laptops are connected to the same network. Right-click on the desktop and select "Display settings." Scroll down and click on "Connect to a wireless display." The other laptop should appear in the list if it's set up properly. Click on it to connect. If you're not able to use Wireless Display, there are software solutions that can enable you to use one laptop as an extended display for the other. These software solutions effectively transmit the display data over the network. Examples include spacedesk, Synergy, and Mouse without Borders. Some of these will allow for an extended display over the network (such as spacedesk), while others will let you control both with one mouse and keyboard without extending the display (like Synergy and Mouse without Borders).

For spacedesk or similar software:

Install the software on both laptops. Open the software on the "Home Laptop" and configure it as the secondary display. Connect to the "Home Laptop" from the "Office Laptop" using the software. Remember that while using software solutions, your experience may vary based on the network speed and the processing power of your laptops. It may not be as smooth as using a traditional monitor, and there could be some latency.

As for adapters, if you were to connect to an actual monitor, depending on the ports available on your laptop and the monitor, you would choose from the following options:

USB to USB: This is typically not used for display purposes unless you are using a docking station or a USB to HDMI adapter. HDMI to HDMI: This is the standard connection for monitors and TVs, requiring an HDMI cable. USB to HDMI: This would be a USB (possibly USB-C) to HDMI adapter, which you might use if your laptop does not have an HDMI port but does have a USB-C port with DisplayPort Alt Mode. For your case, since you are looking to connect two laptops, the cable/adapter approach is not applicable unless one of your laptops supports video input, which is quite rare. The wireless or software approach would be the best solution to extend your display across two laptops.

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