How to Use a Laptop as a Monitor

The easy way to extend a PC's display

What to Know

  • Use Miracast on Windows 10: Settings > System > Projecting to this PC and personalize from there.
  • Don't have two computers with Win10? Go with third-party software like Spacedesk or try Google's free Chrome Remote Desktop service.

This article explains how to use Miracast, third-party software, or a remote desktop solution to add a laptop as a second monitor to your system.

How to Add a Laptop as a Monitor With Miracast

Windows 10 systems come with a feature called Miracast that lets you project your present computer's display to a different computer. The only requirement is that both computers are running a modern enough version of Windows 10 that includes Miracast.

If you can use this option to use your laptop as a monitor, it's the easiest method.

  1. Start on the laptop you want to use as a monitor. Select the Start menu, type Settings, and select the Settings app.

  2. In Settings, select System.

  3. On the Display screen, select Projecting to this PC from the left menu.

    Screenshot of projecting to this PC setting in Display.
  4. On the next screen, select the first dropdown as Available everywhere. Set the second dropdown to Every time a connection is requested. Set the third dropdown to Never (unless you want to require a PIN when projecting to this laptop screen, in which case select Always).

    Screenshot of Projecting to this PC settings.

    Make a note of the PC name listed in this window. You'll need it when projecting your display to the laptop from your other Windows 10 machine.

  5. Switch to the computer you want to cast your display from. Select the notifications icon in the lower right corner of the desktop. Select the Connect icon.

    Screenshot of connecting to enabled Windows 10 via Miracast.
  6. You'll see the system search for available wireless displays. The laptop you set up as an available display will appear in this list. Select the display to connect to it.

    Screenshot of connecting to a secondary laptop display via Miracast.

    An alternative way to access this connection is to open Windows Settings, select System, select Display, scroll down to the Multiple displays section and select Connect to a wireless display. This will open the same display search window where you can select the secondary laptop display to connect to.

  7. On the secondary laptop, you'll see a notification that a connection is in progress. Select the permissions option you prefer. If you don't want to see the notification again, just select Always allow.

    Screenshot of initial connection via Miracast.
  8. A new window will appear with the display of the primary computer that you're projecting from.

Project to Your Laptop Screen With a Third-Party App

If both computers aren't running Windows 10, you can cast your screen to your laptop display using a third-party app instead.

In this example, we'll use Spacedesk to project to a secondary laptop screen. Spacedesk requires you to install the main program on the laptop you want to project your display from, and the Viewer program on the computer you want to project your display to.

  1. First, download and install the Spacedesk software on the laptop you want to project your screen from. The software is available for Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 PCs, either 32-bit or 64-bit.

  2. Once installed, select the notifications area of the taskbar and select the Spacedesk icon. This will open the Server window, where you can confirm that the status is ON (idle).

    Screenshot of the Spacedesk driver software installed.

    If the status isn't ON, select the three dots on the left side of the window and select ON to enable the server.

  3. On the second laptop where you want to project your display, install the viewer version of the Spacedesk software. On the last step of the install, select Launch spacedesk Viewer. The Viewer software is available for Windows, iOS, or Android devices. On all systems, the Viewer software interface looks the same.

  4. In the Viewer application, select the server that the software detects on the network. This will turn the laptop running the Viewer software into an extended display for the desktop that's running the Server software.

    Screenshot of Spacedesk viewer.
  5. You can then use the Display settings on the desktop PC to adjust the external display's resolution and position.

    Screenshot of projecting screen with Spacedesk

Other software that can help you accomplish this same thing include:

Use Chrome Remote Desktop

Another quick and simple solution to use a laptop as a monitor is to take advantage of Google's free Chrome Remote Desktop service.

This solution is ideal in a scenario where you want to mirror your screen to another monitor so that other people can see it. Chrome Remote Desktop will let you display your desktop on the laptop's screen.

  1. From the computer where you want to project the screen from, visit remotedesktop.google.com, and select Remote Support from the two links at the top of the page.

    Screenshot of Remote Support link on Google Remote Desktop.
  2. On the next page, select the download icon in the Get Support section.

    Selecting Get Support download in Google Remote Desktop.
  3. Once the Chrome extension is installed, return to the same page. You'll now see a Generate Code button that you can select.

    Screenshot of Generate Code on Google Remote Desktop.
  4. This will display a code that you'll need on your laptop later. Make a note of this code.

    Screenshot of generating a code in Google Remote Desktop.
  5. Now, log into the laptop where you want to project your screen to. Visit the Google Remote Desktop page, select Remote Support, but this time scroll down to the Give Support section. Type the code you noted above into the field in this section.

    Screenshot of typing code into Google Remote Desktop
  6. Once you select Connect, the laptop screen will display the screen from the original computer where you started this process.

    Screenshot of laptop displaying remote screen in Google Remote Desktop

    You will notice that Google Remote Desktop displays all screens from the remote system. If you only want to display one screen on the laptop, you'll need to disconnect the other screens so that you're only using a single display while displaying to the remote laptop.