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How to Connect a Monitor to a Laptop Without HDMI

As an owner of a monitor without an HDMI port, I’ve been frustrated trying to figure out how to connect my laptop to the monitor. After some research and testing, I’m here to share how I solved the problem and some other solutions I’ve discovered. In this blog post, I’ll be discussing how to connect a monitor to a laptop without HDMI.

You can look for other types of cables that connect your devices, such as VGA, USB-C, or DisplayPort. Some devices can also connect wirelessly.

Connection TypeSteps for Windows DevicesSteps for Apple DevicesWireless Connection Options
Substitute Cable1. Purchase appropriate adapters1. Connect cables to dedicated ports
(VGA, USB-C,2. Connect laptop and monitor using assigned ports2. Open System Preferences, choose Detect Displays
DisplayPort)3. Change TV settings to display the right source3. Click on monitor in options, arrange screens under Arrangement tab
4. Press Windows key + P, choose projection setting4. Use shortcut Option-F1 for Display preferences, adjust resolution and refresh rate
5. Adjust resolution settings if necessary5. If connection not working, try unplugging cable from Mac, plugging back in, and turning monitor back on
Wireless Connection1. Ensure laptop and TV are connected to same network
(Smart TV)1. Connect laptop and TV to same network1. Connect laptop and TV to same network2. Use Source button to select Screen Mirroring
2. Use TV remote to select Screen Mirroring in Source menu2. Use Control Center to click Screen Mirroring, then choose TV3. Connect via Bluetooth & Devices settings
3. Go to laptop Settings, select Bluetooth & Devices4. Cast laptop screen using web browser
4. Click Add Device, choose Wireless display or dock, then select TV
Wireless Connection1. Connect laptop, monitor, and HDMI adapter to same network
(HDMI Adapter)1. Plug HDMI adapter (e.g. Google Chromecast) into monitor1. Plug HDMI adapter (e.g. Google Chromecast) into monitor2. Follow on-screen instructions
2. Connect all devices to the same WiFi2. Connect all devices to the same WiFi
3. Follow HDMI adapter’s on-screen instructions3. Follow HDMI adapter’s on-screen instructions

Using a Substitute Cable

Laptops and monitors can come with many different ports. In case the ports in your devices aren’t compatible, you can purchase adapters so you can connect them.

For example, your monitor might only have a DisplayPort while your laptop only supports VGA. In this case, you’ll need to get a DisplayPort to VGA adapter.

Using Cables With Windows Devices

Once you’ve got all the necessary parts, here are the next steps: 

  1. Connect your laptop to the monitor using the assigned ports. 
  2. Change your TV settings to display the right source or the TV port you’re using.
  3. If you have a Windows laptop, press the Windows key + P to see the Project menu.
  4. Here, you can choose how you want to project your laptop screen to the monitor.

Different Projection Settings

When you open the Project menu, you can choose from Duplicate, Extend, and Second Screen Only.

Choosing Duplicate will just mirror what’s on your laptop to the TV. This is useful for presentations where you need to show your PowerPoint to the audience while also having your laptop in front of you.

You can use the Extend option to get a dual-monitor setup. You can arrange the order of the screens in your laptop’s display settings. This gives you a larger workspace and allows you to drag and drop applications from one screen to the other.

If you just plan on watching a movie on your monitor, you can opt to switch to Second Screen Only. This setting will only use your monitor as the display, leaving your laptop screen black. If you have a wireless keyboard and mouse, you can still control your device while sitting comfortably on your sofa.

You can also change the resolution settings if you wish. Usually, your laptop will display its native resolution to the monitor. However, if you want a higher resolution, you can switch to 4K if both of your devices support it.

Using Cables With Apple Devices

If you’re using a Mac laptop or computer, just connect the cables to the dedicated ports as well. Apple devices usually come with HDMI, USB-C, or DisplayPort. 

Next, follow these steps:

  1. Open the System Preferences menu.
  2. Choose Detect Displays and wait until you can click on your monitor in the options.
  3. You may also arrange the order of your screens under the Arrangement tab.
  4. You can also use the shortcut Option-F1 to open Display preferences so you can adjust the resolution and refresh rate.

If the connection isn’t working, Apple suggests that you turn off the monitor first while keeping your Mac on.

Then, unplug whatever cable you’re using from your Mac. Plug it back in after a few seconds. Turn your monitor back on and see if your Mac is now able to recognize it.

Using a Wireless Connection

If you want to connect your laptop to your monitor wirelessly, you’ll either need a smart TV or a wireless HDMI adapter.

Connecting to a Smart TV

If you have a smart TV manufactured in 2019 or after, you should be able to connect your devices through WiFi. 

Here’s how to use this feature:

  1. First, make sure your laptop and TV are connected to the same network.
  2. Using your TV remote control, press the Source button then select Screen Mirroring.
  3. On your laptop, go to Settings and select Bluetooth & Devices.
  4. Click on Add Device then choose Wireless display or dock.
  5. Click on your TV’s name when it shows up, then wait for the two devices to connect.

Alternatively, you may also cast your laptop screen using a web browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Connecting with an Apple laptop uses a similar process, as long as your smart TV supports AirPlay. Just open the Control Center on your laptop, click Screen Mirroring, then choose your TV.

Connecting With a Wireless HDMI Adapter

If you’re using an ordinary monitor, you can plug in an HDMI adapter such as Google Chromecast. Make sure that all devices are connected to the same WiFi. 

From there, just follow the HDMI adapter’s instructions that show up on the TV screen. With this, you can easily cast your laptop display onto your monitor.

Wrapping Up

There are several options to connect your laptop to a monitor without using an HDMI cable. You can use substitute cables or even do it wirelessly, saving you from a lot of tangled wires.

Now you can sit back and enjoy viewing your laptop’s display on a bigger screen. Have fun!