How to Get the Projector Screen & the Laptop Screen to Come Up

Written by darrin meyer
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How to Get the Projector Screen & the Laptop Screen to Come Up
Avoid the black screen by finding the right commands for your laptop. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

One design feature of laptop computers is the presence of one or more types of interface ports for sending the video signal to an external monitor. This allows the user to connect the computer to a projector for that big PowerPoint presentation or other A/V purposes. With some laptops, though, the screen automatically goes black when the signal is sent to an outside monitor. In most cases, the settings can be changed to have the laptop screen remain on while connected to the projector, though the exact process varies by manufacturer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • VGA, DVI, HDMI or S-video cable

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Connect your laptop to the projector using the type of cable supported by your particular PC. The video outputs of a laptop will differ by model and the age of the computer and will likely include VGA, plus either S-video, HDMI or DVI. Attach the cable from its designated output port to the matching input on the projector. If the image is relayed by the projector and remains on the laptop screen, no further action is needed. If not, additional steps are required.

  2. 2

    Press the correct sequence of keys used by your specific laptop to send the signal to an external monitor if it does not do so automatically. This exact combination differs by make and model, but usually involves pressing and holding the "Fn" key plus one of the function buttons at the top of the keyboard simultaneously, such as "F4" or "F5." Look for the function key that features a monitor icon, laptop-to-monitor icon or "CRT/LCD' on it; that will likely be the correct one. Depending on your computer's settings, the image may then be shown both on the laptop screen and through the projector.

  3. 3

    Press both buttons used in the previous step repeatedly to have the computer cycle through its display options. With most laptops, one of these options will be to have the screen remain on while sending the signal out; stop pressing the buttons when this occurs.

  4. 4

    Right-click on your desktop and select "Personalize" followed by "Display Settings" to extend the video from your screen to the external monitor if using Windows Vista. Drag the monitors shown in the pop-up window to correspond to your set-up, such as the laptop screen on the left and projector screen on the right. Select the projector on the drop-down menu below those graphics and check the box next to "Extend the desktop onto this monitor" and click "Apply." If using Windows Vista, display settings are accessed by right-clicking the desktop and selecting "Properties" and then "Settings."

Tips and warnings

  • Contact your laptop manufacturer's technical support service for more detailed information on changing the display settings of your specific model.

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