How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Many Monitors Do You Use with Your Computer?

Most people have a single monitor for their computers, many have two, and some individuals enjoy “3 monitor plus” goodness. This week we would like to know how many monitors you use with your computer.


Photo by DamnedNice.

A good majority of people have a single monitor that they use with their computers and that single monitor serves their needs very well. It could be that these individuals do not engage in a heavy amount of work or play on their computers…they just need to do the basics like checking e-mail, using I.M., working with photos, etc. Another possibility is the use of virtual desktop software such as Dexpot, Yodm 3D, or Sysinternals Desktops on Windows systems. Linux systems such as Ubuntu already have that wonderful multi-desktop functionality built in. The wonderful part about virtual desktops is that a single monitor can feel equivalent to a small army of monitors. The ability to separate your open windows into “categories” and spread them out across multiple desktops is definitely nice.

With each passing year dual monitor setups are becoming more common. Having twice the screen real-estate visible at the same time can be extremely convenient when you are multi-tasking. Perhaps you like to monitor your system’s stats and an e-mail account on the second monitor while working with software on the first. It certainly beats having windows popping up and down on your screen constantly while keeping on top of everything!

Next we have the people who have three or more monitors in use with their computers. This may be a result of the type of work they do, an experiment to see if multiple monitors are right for them, or the cool, geeky factor that comes with having all those monitors. Needless to say these individuals can induce a good amount of envy and/or inspiration in the rest of us when we see their awesome setups.

Are you perfectly content with a single monitor? Do you have two or more monitors that you use? If you have two or more monitors are they actually that useful to you? Perhaps you are getting ready even now to add additional monitors to your system. Whatever your situation may be at the moment, let us know your thoughts (and possible multi-monitor plans) in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=”4286206″]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 12/22/10

Comments (68)

  1. Tyler

    I have 2 monitors for my desktop, but I often run my laptop as well by the side. Most the time laptop would run emails and an IM program, and then my desktop, would be used to edit video across the 2 screens.

  2. Zach

    I have a laptop, so one monitor is all that I need.

  3. Alex

    3 monitor. one for running virtual machine, one for message, stocks, news, etc. and last is main for gaming, movie, and all the fun stuff

  4. Asian Angel

    I am running a single monitor setup at the moment. One, it does what I need while saving space on my desk, and two, I have virtual desktop software that balances everything out nicely. ^_^

  5. Hatryst

    I don’t understand. What’s the purpose of multiple monitors? Someone, tell me please !!

  6. Darv

    I would be in the “3” category (my laptop is really a “desktop replacement”) – I run the native 1920×1080 laptop display & have two additional 23″ flat panels connected via a Matrox DualHead.

  7. RebateSense

    1 huge 27-inch external monitor and a small little 13-in screen of my Mac. Main activity happens on the 27-incher and some less intense things on the Mac screen on the side. Huge difference in terms of size but having some trouble connecting dual monitors to my Mac. Some of the hardware out there are not worth the $$$ (at least that’s what I think). If I can find a simple and cheaper solution then sure that would make a 27 + 22 + 13 inchers; that would be great, looking forward to that day!

  8. robclarksr

    I am fortunate, I have a lap top, and my wife has a desktop. There actually are two moniters but one is really loaded because my wife is blind and needs a lot of optional software.

  9. Alvin Hansen

    I realize that this is overkill 20X over, but because my PC is used as a glorified media server, my monitor is a 52″ Samsung LCD running at 1920 x 1080. It makes running spreadsheets a dream to use with so much screen real estate to play with.

  10. Mastermind

    I have two monitors.
    I have a third which I want to use badly, but my graphics card only has room for two

  11. Cryptic

    I use 3. I have my main one that I use for mostly everything. Then I have two extra ones that I use during music production. I have one to the left on my main one that is held in a portrait position instead of landscape. I use this one for my effects rack. This is useful so that I don’t have to dig through multiple windows looking for the right effect for the right track. The one to the right on my main one has my VST’s open and I can edit and drag them to the main mixer on the center screen. I also use that one to play videos for my son while I’m working on various other things so he can watch Backyardigans while I edit my bands newest metal song.

  12. Marv

    3 Samsung 932bw+, 4320 x 900 desktop, Eyefinity w/ Radeon HD 5770 CrossFire

  13. Marv

    @ Hatryst

    Try a multi-monitor setup and you’ll see what the fuss is about. Increased desktop real estate is a major plus.

  14. asdf-chan

    Obviously watching more tasks at the same time instead of switching between programs.
    As an example for programmers: If you code some software and found a bug somewhere in it, you need to debug it (if you want to find and remove the bug) , which means looking inside the compiler where it crashes. By setting breakpoints, to tell the compiler to look at a specific point inside your code/programm, you will need to run your software and work with that and for analyzing your softwares behavior you need to look at the debugger (the thing where you can watch what your compiler does). By having two monitors you can just switch your physical viewpoint instead switching windows, otherwise you would be spending time switching tabs which is pain in the ass if you have a lot of breakpoints set.

    I use 3

  15. Cambo


    Why not try a USB-VGA adapter? I use one at work daily. Works well with video as well however you won’t get the performance of a hardened video card. However it does the job.

  16. Stevers

    There should be an option for “Desktop with 1 monitor and a laptop on the side”

  17. Mastermind


    Ive only found a couple of them and they are either €50 or €300, that’s not within my price range.
    If you find one cheaper, be sure to tell me!

  18. RocRizzo

    I have seventeen monitors. They are so cheap, and so are video cards.

  19. JayMo

    Got one 23″ monitor and a projector that displays on my wall giving me another 8′ or so screen. :D

  20. Wayne

    Never enough.

  21. b0nker

    I’m running a dual monitor setup, 22″ and a 21.5″ HD (they advertised it as a 22″, don’t want to send it back I like the dual monitors). The 22″ is usually for my general browsing of the internet, and the 21.5″ HD monitor is mostly for videos and gaming.

  22. pathfinda

    I use 2 24″ widescreen, looking to add 2 others. ( two for general use, one for multimedia PC and another for TV/cable viewing.

    When I worked as a desktop tech/NOC engineer, I used 6 24 widescreens, and enjoyed it. I have multiple apps running to monitor the network, one for web viewing and one to watch TV network streaming.

  23. InDiSent

    I have two 20″ monitors and my laptop that i connect to via synergy. Need a 3rd 20″.

  24. Urichhai

    used to have 2 but after custom build my desk I really only have room for 1. right now its a 24″ samsung but soon to be upgraded to 28″ or 30″ (30 if the prices come down)

  25. Wil

    At work I have 4 if you count the screen on my laptop.

    It is 2 per computer you see.

  26. Lady Fitzgerald

    Right now I have one 22″ monitor at home. I also have my 32″ TV cloned to my monitor. I plan on getting a 22″ 1080p TV to use as both a TV when I’m working on the monitor and a second monitor when I need one. I often have four separate screens open on my monitor (the screen divided into fourths) but there are times I would like some extra screen real estate.

    @ Hatryst. Extra monitors are handy when you need more than one window open and displayed at the same time. You can subdivide a single monitor only so much before each screen becomes too small to be of any use.

  27. _NathanBaxter_


    I seriously miss my dead monitor. Reduced to feeble 32in LCD tv screen now :(

  28. Anon

    Two 17″ six year old lcd Monitors. They are still going strong but suxxx.
    Wish list 3x Asus VE248H Black 24″ “eyefinity”

  29. Brian

    I run three monitors doing web development. One is turned to portrait mode for code editing, the second runs the various browsers, and the third runs the IDE, server monitors, etc.

  30. Steve

    Your survey left out the option of one monitor that’s switched between multiple PCs.

    I’ve got a giant LaCie CRT that has several video inputs. :)

  31. Drew

    My last CRT died so I am back to a single 20″ LCD. I don’t miss the 2nd monitor all that much. Will purchase a 30″ monitor in 2011 and it is debatable whether I will go back to dual monitors or not.

  32. nt0xik8ed

    i use 2 – 20″ dells both with usb ports on the sides. one for all of my activity and the other for wmc, usually watching tv. 22″ and 24″ were just to huge to sit close too.

  33. nt0xik8ed

    i should add i also run desktop cube.

  34. Rick Mizell

    I have 4 LCD monitors on my desktop, 2 computers are running 2 monitors each. I have synergy installed on each so the systems can be run as one. One mouse and keyboard runs both systems and all 4 monitors.

    My laptop sits behind me on another work table with 2 more.

    I was thinking of adding 2 more to my desktop. I read a whole lot at once.

    Gotta love technology.

  35. Yoshiyah

    1 is enough. No need to run up the electric bill!

  36. ChuckBales

    I have my main work PC running 4 19″s, another 19″ on my desk used for staging servers, plus my laptop. I use synergy to control the laptop with my main keyboard/mouse.

    At home I have a 26″ monitor paired with my laptop.

  37. cohoman

    I was using two 21″ LCD monitors with my home-built Quad-core Windows 7 machine, but after switching to a new 27″ iMac I now only use the one monitor. The nice thing, is that the 27″ iMac is very high resolution so I’ve essentially replaced my two LCD monitors with my single 27″ one!

  38. Akshay

    I just use my 15″ laptop monitor, with four virtual desktops on Ubuntu :)

  39. Curchy

    8 total… Got 3×23″ and 3×19″ on DVI with 3 video card, plus a laptop and a docked IPad… and now I’m not sure if i’m not being irradiated.

  40. Jeremy

    I use dual 22″ LCD monitors….about once or twice a week a third monitor would be awesome…just cant justify a new vid card/monitor/loss of desk space….yet.

  41. Martik

    This Post Picture is Awesome! Are those all yours?

  42. chess

    2 on a PC + 1 laptop screen.

  43. Mark e.

    yup, kinda a poor survey, I have 2 monitors on the PC but may have up to two more android devices running in trays at the same time….

  44. Paul G

    Three screens make life so much easier. I can work on my centre screen and have two pages on screen at the same time. No more of that flicking one tab up and closing one down and copying and pasting is so much easier. Cant think how I managed with one screen.

  45. dennis

    I use 2 monitors. In my IT Department, i have new coleagues that i am training and using more than 1 monitor help. we are not cramped for space on one monitor.

  46. ahmed

    I use one screen
    I am programmer
    Do you think I need anther window
    and I ask how is this connected ?

  47. Martin B

    3 computers each with 2 * 19″ screens. Essential when programming or editing video. Even when just reading email whilst checking a web link. Too slow fliping between windows and scrolling on just 1 screen.

  48. WayneW

    I’m running XP Pro with a single monitor, but am having trouble hooking up my TV.
    I have my TV connected via a DVI to HDMI cable and it works as a second monitor but my icons seem to just go haywire. All the trouble I’ve had just makes it not worth it to even leave it connected.
    I installed an app to save the icon layout but haven’t tried it with the TV. Any good free software any of you would recommend for XP.
    Another thing is I have a dedicated sound card, due to integrated going bad, but still don’t get sound from the DVI to HDMI.

  49. Asian Angel

    @Martik – I found that image at Flickr. ^_^

  50. Mike

    How about how many computers are attached to your monitor?

    I have twelve banked to three monitors. I run four computers on one monitor. I was going to do twelve computers on one monitor, but the KVM was too expensive.

  51. Kae

    I have one monitor on my computer.

    My God, I feel so “common.” :D

  52. nacho

    3 at work, 2 at home.

  53. chris

    I have 2 monitors. I use one for watching Tv with a tv tuner card. The other for doing work reports and using a net book for emails and instant messenger.

  54. Spike

    I have 2 gaming desk top PC’s each has Dual 23′ LCD monitors. A 17′ laptop is used for displaying star maps and my netbook does duty as a TS3 communication system. I play Eve Online with 4 accounts. This is my 6 screen command center setup. I love it so much, describing it gives me a distinct upper leg tingle.

  55. C. Hill

    I currently use 2 monitors –my touch screen 23″ that usually has 4 distinct windows (including tv, open office & two games) and a static 20″ –dual windows there for mail accounts –but I also generally have my laptop and my netbook running on my desk too— with FB/games—more computers &more screens so it all works faster, with fewer freezes…

  56. Deven

    3×24″ motions for me

  57. Judas

    2 24″, 1 26″ HDTV. One for work, one for browsing, one for video.

  58. KCK

    I have 1-23″ monitor. I would have 2 monitors for the pure geekiness of it, except, space is a problem. It comes down to 2nd monitor or a tv…. I have a tv.

  59. Poet-Geek

    Oh sweet Topic. I use my HP Business Compaq 6720s Notebook Screen along with a Vistron 42 HD Ready LCD TV as my second monitor in addition I plug my Acer Aspire One A0533 to the TV screen if I do my College work on Acer as thats what its mainly bought for.

    Does anyone with a Mac Book has experience with more than 2 screen (and don’t lie just because you’re a fan boy. I would like to know thats all not to judge Mac vs Windows or anything such as I am a Windows 7Ultimate user and it will stay that way.

  60. fay

    Hi I would love to have more then one monitor how would I go about it?.In display it only shows one monitor set up. Do I need a different graphics card? my computer is a brand new desktop Acer Aspire 2TB HDD & NVIDIA &,Duel Quod core processors. which is still under warranty I have only had it three months.

  61. Poet-Geek

    hey ‘fay’..Since i use Acer Aspire One I should be able to help to solve your tiny trouble.
    Here are the instruction.

    1)Plug in your Monitor to your Acer VGA Port (using the VGA cable u get with your monitor or go buy one if you don’t have one)

    2) Right click on your Desktop and look out for “Graphic Option” than to -> Output To

    3) In “Output To” you got pretty much loads of Options, but I believe the once you will find most helpful are under “Extended Desktop” here you can choose between Notebook + Monitor or between Monitor + Notebook. Whatever you decide to chose is up to your preference, there is no wrong or right.

    Hope the guide was simple enough for you to understand. Good luck and enjoy using two Monitors ;)

  62. FHS Admin

    I run about 6 monitors on my work computer. I have a little hack to run the task bar across the bottom three screens, and through the bottom screens I do my power points, word documents, and emails – and of course my web browsing, then across the top three monitors I have the cameras throughout the school cycling so I can monitor that while I’m at my desk.

  63. Dick Crow

    Have 3 identical Sony Multiscan, but only use 2. Not smart enough to make all three work on my old Mac G4 FW800 1GHz single cpu. Don’t think you can use more than two with it. Would like to.

  64. Aisha

    Using 2 right now, would love to use three or more, just figuring out how to get it setup. I usually run a couple of virtual machines and use them in conjuction with my native. Frequently swapping out data, it would be beyond awesome if I had side screens for two VMs usually xp or ububtu, a primary for my immediate work on windows 7 all dedicated to work and maybe a screen or two for personal stuff I tap into occasionally, youtube, fb, my personal email, etc.

  65. Cruachan

    I have a dual graphics card setup which I originally installed to use three monitors, but couldn’t resist adding the extra one to make it four. I work with three – central focus plus one to either side, and the fourth is in use to run ‘always on but light use’ applications like spotify, skype, pidgin and seesmic

  66. NappiiRoots

    Okay I have a kind of unique set up. I am using three monitors (well sometimes four) but I am also using three separate PC’s networked together using Synergy. Only one mouse and keyboard but the power of three PC’s running as one system. It works very well. Sometimes there is a very slight lag but for the most part it is seemless. I sometimes use my 50″ TV as a fourth monitor to display video or other content that I want to share with a group as to not have them all crowd around my desk.

  67. turkishmonky

    It’s not the number of monitors that’s important, it’s the number of pixels. A 2560 x 1600 monitor like this will always beat out a bunch of smaller monitors. (although it does come with a bigger pricetag.)

    also, offtopic, 1080p tvs suck. even my 26″ monitor has a better resolution, so why can’t they figure out how to put a 4x screen onto a 52″?

  68. Ryan

    Sitting with three right now. Thought about a 4th, but I think that might be a bit too much of a head turn to get all the way across.

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