How To Play Games On Second Monitor In Windows

Knowing how to move a full-screen game to a second monitor improvizes your gameplay experience indefinitely, allowing you to be immersed inside the game through undivided attention. 

Gamers nowadays love to have a multi-monitor setup in their mid-high tier gaming rig, either for extending their screen to have greater visibility or shifting the fullscreen on the second monitor.

In this article, we put forth three different answers to the question how to play games on second monitor windows 10? These methods do not require you to exit the game or change it to a smaller windowed version. So without any further ado, let’s dive into it.

How to play games on second monitor windows 10?

How To Play Games On Second Monitor Windows 10?

Having two monitors upgrades your multi-tasking capabilities and raises various games’ FOV (Field of View). This, in turn, makes you more productive and increases individual focus to dominate those FPS games by viewing enemies quickly through higher screen resolution.

It’s a precarious situation when people decide to play games on the second monitor, Windows 10 while being in the full-screen mode. Although the process of shifting seems straightforward, it might seem complicated for you to move it quickly without knowing the exact series of steps.

While playing a fullscreen game, there isn’t a direct approach to shifting the game to the second monitor since the two monitors form connectivity to the I/O hub through separate HDMI ports. The only way to establish fluency between the two different hardware channels is through the operating system interfacing with both of them.

Windows 10 and the recently unveiled Windows 11 contain an easy shortcut to play games on the second monitor, either by projecting them directly or setting the second monitor as the primary monitor. Let us explore these methods in detail.

  1. Switch to Projector Mode
  2. Set the Second Monitor as a Primary Monitor
  3. Set the fullscreen game to windowed mode

1. Switch to Projector Mode

When we consider projecting a fullscreen game to the second monitor, Windows 10 does not fail to impress us with its quick keyboard shortcut. The shortcut key removes the need to exit the game while shifting, even if your game is in fullscreen mode or a borderless window. Follow the stated directions to learn more on how to play games on the second monitor through projecting.

  • Connect the second monitor to your existing windows display setup through HDMI or any other display port.
HDMI or any other display port
  • If the device is already connected, press and hold the Windows key on the keyboard and tap the P key (Windows + P) while still pressing the Windows key. On Windows 10, a menu on the right side of the laptop screen or gaming monitor will appear, presenting the following display tabs:
  • PC Screen only – Content will be displayed on the primary monitor.
  • Duplicate – The same screen is visible on both primary and secondary monitors.
  • Extend – Extend the current space to the separate monitor, and we can drag anything from the primary to the secondary monitor.
  • Second screen Only – This projector mode method turns the primary monitor off and shifts everything to the secondary monitor.
  • To achieve our objective of playing video games on the second monitor, we will select Second Screen Only from the above choices.
  • After clicking on the option, the fullscreen or borderless window game will shift to the second screen (the primary display will become blank) with a transition period of a few seconds, varying on the responsiveness of the gaming monitor.

If you want to return to the primary display, perform the repetition of the same steps above.

2. Set the Second Monitor as a Primary Monitor

Setting the secondary monitor as the primary one can eliminate the hassle of shifting the game to the external monitor attached with the preliminary setup. This method is not as optimized and easy as the previous one.

However, this method offers better tweaking, faster FPS, and stability in terms of secondary screen resolution and graphics settings. Let us see how to play games on the second monitor in Windows 10 through the primary monitor method:

  • Connect the external gaming monitor on which you want to play the fullscreen game.
  • Open Windows settings by either tapping the shortcut key Windows + I or right-click on the Start button and clicking on Settings.
  • Select the System category, and tap on the Display from the left pane. You can achieve the same by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop and tapping on Display Settings.
System category
  • On the new window that pops up, your available monitors appear at the top in the form of numbered blue rectangular boxes. Each box represents a monitor connected to your gaming setup (Box 1 represents the primary monitor, and Box 2 stands for the second monitor)
Box 1 represents the primary monitor, and Box 2 stands for the second monitor
  • Click Identify or Detect if the monitor is not recognized.
  • From the above displays tab, select the box you want as the primary monitor (In this case, Box 2 for the second monitor)
  • Mark the checkbox for “Make this my main display” as positive. The former primary monitor will automatically become the secondary screen.
  • Click on Apply to confirm your actions.

After the above steps, the fullscreen game will shift to the second monitor, while the main screen will become the secondary one. Redo the above steps to return the status of the primary screen to the main monitor.

3. Set the fullscreen game to windowed mode:

On being asked “how to play games on my second monitor,” some gamers came up with the solution of temporarily putting the game in Windowed mode, shifting it to a different screen, and then returning to the fullscreen mode. Here is their step-by-step elaboration:

  • Ensure the second monitor is connected to the main screen, turned on, and the fullscreen game is running on the primary monitor.
  • Press Alt+Enter to put the game in the windowed mode.
  • Drag the window by holding the title bar with the mouse cursor, shift it to the second screen, and release the mouse button.
  • The game window has been shifted to the second monitor. Press Alt+Enter again while being inside the game to return to the fullscreen mode.

How do I set up a second monitor for Windows 10?

Connecting a separate external monitor to your pre-existing setup, on which you can stream games, work on different simultaneous tasks, host meetings while playing, can prove to be a hassle if you don’t know your way around the complexities of connecting and initializing them separately. Follow these steps to set up a second monitor in Windows 10:

  • Connect the appropriate cables (HDMI or VGA) from the monitor to the CPU cabinet to establish a proper connector. Make sure the power for the secondary monitor is on and there is an initial response from the display.
  • Press Windows logo key + P key and select the appropriate display picture mode for the Second Screen.
Windows logo key + P

If Windows did not detect the monitor, or if you want extensive settings, follow the steps below:

  • Click on the Start button.
  • Tap the Gear icon on the left pane to open Settings.
 Gear icon
  • Press on the System category, and select the Display settings.
  • Windows should automatically detect the monitor connected to your system. If it isn’t connected, click Detect.
  • Press Identify to get the current layout of display tabs.
  • In the Multiple displays segment, select the desired option for display screen arrangement.
  • Click Keep Changes to confirm your settings.

How do I switch monitors in-game?

We might be inside a game on one monitor, and something urgent comes up that needs to be dealt with immediately. A keyboard shortcut will prove to be handy in this case if you don’t have the option of saving and exiting the game. We can switch monitors in-game through the following steps:

Borderless Windowed Mode:

  • Pause the game you are playing, and open up its Settings from the pause menu.
  • Navigate to the displays tab of the game. Locate Display Mode from there, and change it from Fullscreen to Borderless Windowed.
Borderless Windowed Mode:
  • Move the mouse to the second monitor by dragging it to the screen, and click there to shift control. The game on the primary monitor won’t close or minimize.
  • Press the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut to switch between the two monitors. Drag the mouse cursor to the game if you want to play it.
  • Holding the Alt key will display the list of windows opened already, and you can select from them accordingly using arrow keys.

How do I make my primary monitor extended?

The primary monitor screen can be extended to a secondary monitor easily by following the procedure below:

  • Right-click on the desktop and tap on Display Settings.
tap on Display Settings
  • Under the category for Multiple displays, open the selection pane and click Extend these displays.
  • Click on Apply to make your primary monitor extended throughout all displays.
Extend these displays

Why can’t Windows 10 detect my second monitor?

Sometimes Windows 10 fails to detect the external monitor. This can arise from a multitude of reasons, the most common one being outdated drivers. Follow the steps below to update your drivers through the Windows update:

  • Go to the Device Manager by opening the Run window (Windows key+R), typing devmgmt.msc inside the run bar, and press Enter.
typing devmgmt.msc
  • Under the Monitors section, find the driver for your particular monitor brand.
  • Right-click on that driver and press Update driver.
press Update driver
  • Select Search automatically for drivers.
  • Windows will start searching for drivers and update it accordingly. If no new drivers are found, try searching again.
Search automatically for drivers

Windows 10 will now recognize the second monitor. If it isn’t detected yet, reconnect the joining wires, and ensure the power to the second monitor is turned on.

Wrapping Up

We hope you liked our article on how to run games on your second monitor in Windows 10. Let us know in the comments below which method worked the best for you, and feel free to ask questions if you have any doubts.


How Do I Choose Which Monitor A Game Opens?

You can choose which monitor a game opens by deciding which monitor you are launching the game in. If you are working on the primary monitor, and launch your game there, it will start the game in the primary monitor itself, unless you shift it to your other monitors through methods given in this article.

How Do I Display One Monitor And Work On Another?

You can display one monitor and work on the other one by simply extending your current display through the PROJECT command (Windows Key + P) and selecting Extend given at the third option.

How Do I Choose A Default Display?

You can choose a default display by going into Windows Settings > System > Display, selecting the monitor you want as your primary display (by clicking 1 or 2), and checking the box to Make this my main display. After changing, click on Apply Changes.

How Do I Make A Game Open On A Certain Monitor?

You can make a game open on a certain monitor by transferring the control on that monitor first and launching the game on it. Alternatively, you can convert your game to the windowed mode and drag it to the other monitor.