Are you using external monitor? Are you happy?

how many external monitors

I am going to be getting a monitor soon but I am curious how you guys are doing with your own setup. If you are using an external monitor(s), please respond in the comment section with the following info:

  • Number of screens
  • Screen size(s)
  • Resolution(s)
  • Magnification you use on your Surface and also your monitor(s)
  • If you have any blurry issues
  • If you need to logout and log back in to fix display issues
  • etc

I am curious to see how successful your setup are and I’m sure others are curious as well!


  1. I use one external monitor, 24″, 1920×1200. Magnification is 200% on Surface Pro4 screen, 100% on external monitor. Windows Apps have no blurry issues, but desktop programs do.

    Upon plugging the external monitor in (via dock), desktop programs appear clear on my Surface display, but blurry (and sometimes oversized) on my external monitor. If I sign out/in, desktop programs will appear clear on my external monitor, but pixelated (and sometimes tiny) on my Surface screen.

    The latter is typically preferable for me, but does mean that when I unplug, I have to sign out/in to get my Surface display clear again.

    • Please clarify – “Windows App” meaning those apps that come with standard Windows and “desktop app” meaning other apps you install?

  2. I use two external monitor, 24″, 1920×1200.
    Uses the microsoft dock and active adapters.
    Magnification is 200% on Surface Pro4 screen, 100% on external monitors.
    Image on external monitors are not as “crisp” as on the surface.
    I had to get the active adaperts. Before that it was a pain i the behind.

    • Is it not as crisp because the native resolution of those monitors are not as high in resolution or are they performing even below those expectations?

  3. 1 screen – external, 24″
    100% Magnification on monitor, 150% on Surface
    No issues with blur

    However I’m EXTREMELY pissed with MS – if I connect my monitor (direct or via docking station) with a DisplayLink cable, it NEVER sleeps. When my SP3 turns the screen off, the monitor keeps waking up all the time. I had to get a DisplayLink => HDMI converter and use an HDMI cable to nueter this crap. Spoke to MS support on a number of occasions, they just don’t give a shit.

    Also when I remove my SP3 from the docking station, and later put it back, more often than not I need a reboot.

    This is ridiculous – MS has completely FAILED to supply drivers for THEIR OWN HARDWARE.

  4. I use one external monitor (2560 x 1080 pixels) at home and another external at work (1920 x 1080 pixels)

    I’m not overly happy with the setup process, but they work fine now.

    When I first plugged the external monitors in I was getting blurry desktop apps (especially Chrome) on whichever monitor was not the external one.
    The only fix I could find was to go into advanced display settings and set custom scaling to 115%. I have the external monitors at 100% scaling and the surface screen at 150%.

    It all seems massively over complicated for a device designed by Microsoft and touted as being great at turning into a desktop when needed.

    How has everyone else got round this?
    (also, having to sign out and sign back in if you’ve connected an external when in sleep mode is annoying)

  5. I use two external 24″ at the office linked to my surface pro 4 by the docking station. The setup was creating lots of problems earlier; one screen would work, the other not, sometimes both won’t work. But it seems a recent update fixed all that.

  6. When I got my Surface Pro 3, I bought it with the dock so I could connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and use it as a desktop computer. My monitor is a 21.5″ 1920×1080, from Dell. It worked perfectly for a while, but then the screen resolution started changing randomly; I would wake the computer from sleep and the resolution on the screen would be very low with everything pixellated. Rebooting didn’t help. I found the only way I could reliably maintain correct screen resolution was to connect the Surface directly to the monitor without using the dock.

  7. I use a 28 inch Acer Acer B276HUL WQHD IPS (2560 x 1440) connected by displayport. 200% magnification on Surface Pro and 125% on the monitor. No issues!

  8. I use a Surface Pro 4 with all firmware and OS updated:

    1 external monitor, a 23″ Dell U2311H
    1920 x 1080
    Magnification: 200% on Surface, 100% on external monitor
    No blurry issues
    Every time I dock or undock my Surface Pro 4 from the Dell, I have to log out and log back in because the resolution on the Surface is messed up. If I start with the Surface then plug into the Dell, everything is oversized on the Dell. If I start on the Dell and unplug, everything is undersized on the Surface.

    This is insane! Seriously, did anyone at Microsoft use or test an external monitor before releasing the Surface or Windows 10? This is not complicated stuff. My Macbook Pro running the latest version of OS X has no issues like this.

    And while I’m on it, I’d love for Microsoft to fix these other bugs:

    1. When waking from sleep, wi-fi is turned off ever single time.
    2. When waking from sleep, the Surface gets its vertical/horizontal orientation correct only about 60% of the time.

  9. I have two 2560×1440 monitors on a sp4 i7 16gb, connected via surface dock. Mini dp to dp. No end of troubles.

    Artifacts in office apps like visio and excel.

    Issue where 1 monitor will stop displaying. After a bit of fiddling around and a few reboots…sorts itself out.

    Same monitors on a x1 carbon i5, using targus displaylink, zero problems.

    All firmware and drivers up to date. Even rebuilt the thing and same issues.

    My 2 cents.

  10. I use a Asus 27 inch at work on my SP4, I use a PNY adapter for DP to HDMI @ 1920×1080 100% text size, 200% text size on SP4.

    Its a bit pixelish but I tend to believe its due to the fact 1080 at 27 inches is just too big a screen size to not see it.

    The only issue i have is my remote software wont recognize the secondary screen when it did just fine on my SP3 I don’t know if its due to a different resolution scale or not.

    And on a side note about the above website crashing, my chrome will stop responding on my first visit to here but on restart works fine. I had told this once to previous editors as well.

  11. I support 10 people including myself using SP3s and SP4s. 7 of these people use external monitors. We have used both the dock meant for the SP3 and the SP4. Microsoft has a long way to go to fix this issue, but this is what I have found. SP3s are much less of a headache. I don’t know if the SP4s have a problem because of the higher resolution or Windows 10.

    I have two people using single 34″ monitors (3440 x 1440). I have 4 using dual 24″ monitors (1920×1080). And one person using a 24″ monitor (1920×1080) and a 27″ touch screen monitor (1920×1080). Between all my users I have experienced all the problems with external monitors that people have stated on the web.

    What I have found is there is no one solution but there is one that seems to work best. High resolution (3440 x 1440) have less complications. But if you want to removed the most complications, turn off the Surface screen when docked. Once I did this, about 98% of my issues went away. No rebooting, no improper application or screen size, no problems with main screen. My users are happier, I am happier and for what they are doing, they have lost no functionality.

    My suggestion. Get a 34″ screen that is curved. The first one I bought was a flat one and the outside edges just feel too far away.

  12. I have three 24″ 1920×1200 monitors for my Surface Book, connected to the docking station. Two monitors are plugged into the dock, and the third is connected via DP daisy chaining.
    100% magnification on the screens, 200% on the SB.
    I only use the external displays when it’s docked, or the screen on its own when it’s not, so I shouldn’t encounter any blurriness. When I first got the laptop back in February, I used to have blurriness issues where some programs would be very small or comically large that would only be fixed by logging off and back in, but since the updates in March (or April?), that stopped being a problem.
    This setup has been working pretty well so far.

  13. I use one LG lg 27mu68 at 60 hz with mdp from docking station… no problems at 3840x 2160. Could not make two work at 30hz at the same time, however, despite reasonable efforts. Reasonably frustrating given MS claims!
    I also tried to get my LG 34mu98 working in true 4096 mode — to no avail (did work at 3840)

    • i read something elsewhere that might help…one of the monitors should be connected directly to the Surface Dock and the other monitor should be connected to the Surface Pro directly you’ll be able to run both at 60hz

  14. I have my SP3 connected to a 24″ older Dell monitor via dock station. The HDMI port on the dock and the SP3 both will display but some days I have to swap from one to the other. The monitor display will blink off and on so then I have to change the ports. I have tried about three different HDMI cables of different brands and lengths. Overall I am pleased.

  15. I have a Dell Ultrawide Curved 34 inch as my primary and I am connecting my surface book via the docking station but using my surface in folded mode and being able to write on the surface book while having it connected to the monitor. It is like having a second computer.

    I have figured out how to get my surface book to act like two computers. Here is a link to a picture of my set up.

    I have also connected my Samsung Note 5 using Sidesync so I am fully connected.

    It has been a great productivity boost.

    I do lose a little resolution on the screen as I am not at the highest the monitor can go. Once in awhile I need to reboot but not very often.

  16. I’m sorry none of you seem to have found the solution I did. I use an sp3 on win 8.1 with the sp3 docking station to a Dell 23″ touch screen. If you download the actual Intel drivers with the configuration utility that comes with it, you can add custom resolutions. I don’t remember what I set it to but I dock and undock without logging out or anything. Everything looks right and is perfectly useable for touch. I use it to record, edit, and mix audio, using both the tablet and external screens in my work flow, then take the tablet out and use it at live shows. No problem whatsoever. You may have to experiment. And make sure windows doesn’t “update” the Intel driver back to the default.

    • Adam, are you able to use the Surface Pro pen with the Dell touch screen? The Dell touch screen we had was a lovely design, but couldn’t get it to work with the pen. We have a much clunkier touch screen from IIYAMA Prolite T2252MTS that sort of works with the pen, but better with a soft tip finger pen.

  17. I am using a Surface Pro 4 with a Surface Dock and 2 ViewSonic VA2265smh 22-Inch monitors. My Surface is running 2736 x 1824 at 200% and the two Viewsonics are at 1920 x 1080 at 100%. I do not have any issues with this setup. I have been using this setup since December of last year.

  18. The key is to use an >>active<< adapter / cable. Buy a quality one from Amazon (I recommend StarTech) and all the display problems are solved 🙂

  19. Using Surface Book with Surface Dock + 24″ 1920×1080 monitor plugged into the dock through displayport > HDMI adaptor.

    – When I unlock the Surface Book, the screen flashes twice, like it’s changing resolution
    – Lots of problems while moving windows between Surface Book’s screen and the external monitor:

  20. I use a 30-inch HP ZR30w connected to my SP3 via the Surface Pro 3 dock. I have NO problems with this setup. I did, initially, as via an HDMI connection I couldn’t get the 30-inch to display at the optimal resolution (2560 x 1600). I switched to the displayport cable that came with the monitor, and viola!, everything works as expected. I’ve been using this setup for about a year now with no problems. I don’t use Chrome, though, and I remember reading that there were some Chrome issues early on with the SP3’s high resolution display. I also connect to a 24-inch HP display at work (sorry, I don’t know the model), and I don’t have trouble with that one, either. Oh, and scaling on the SP3 is 100%.

  21. Ive got a 32″ 4K monitor on my SP4 with dock. Have to use SP4’s mini display port with short cable to get it working @4K-60Hz.
    Trying to connect monitor to the dock sometimes work, but rarely.
    I wanted to use KVM switch, I quickly understood that in full resolution only direct (short) link will work without issue …

  22. I’m glad some of you are having good luck with this.. It’s usually a question of resolution and aspect ratio. I found the site that helped me. Looked hard for you. This should put it all to rest. Once you have the right driver you’ll be able to set up multiples of each screen resolution so it works the way you want. No signing out or things getting stuck. Here it is :

  23. I use two external monitors, 24″, 1920×1200.
    Uses the DisplayLink USB 3.0 Plugable dock.
    Magnification is 200% on Surface Pro4 screen, 100% on external monitors.
    Image on external monitors and surface screen are both sharp.
    When I undock the desktop icons are tiny so I need to logout. When I dock again the icons are huge and fuzzy on the monitors unless I log out again.

  24. SP3. ASUS monitor. Sometimes the monitor is not as crisp but overall it is so much better than just relying on the screen!

  25. I have an issue with my displays I have two external monitors and when I reconnect my surface after a meeting my surface doesn’t recognise my external screen as my main display and I have to restart my machine or move all my desktop icons. Does anyone know why?

  26. I’ve used multiple monitors on my Surface Pro 3. Right now as I type I have the Surface itself on a dock, a 21 inch monitor at 1600*900, and I just bought a 17 AOC portable monitor also running 1600*900.

    The new 17 inch AOC monitor is neat. It’s just a monitor with a small “kickstand” and a single port that hooks up via USB which also doubles for power. My goal with this monitor is to use it for traveling.

  27. I run 2x Dell U2412M 24″ monitors @ 1920 x 1200 with no magnification. Connected to Surface Dock using miniDP to DP. Used to be terribly unstable when resuming from low power mode, now it is only mildly unstable.

  28. I have had three external monitors hooked up, and then including the SP3 itself, that makes a total of 4 displays. They all rendered properly with no issues at all. All very different sizes. One was even a full screen monitor.

  29. I have three external monitors. All three monitors are going through the EVGA DisplayPort Hub (200-DP-1301-L1) to my SP4.

    When it is working, the setup is nearly flawless.

    My biggest complaint is when I take the SP4 from the dock and work at home and then bring it back to work, sometimes the monitors get flaky. I generally have to reboot the SP4 a few times and then all gets well.

  30. I am using Lenovo USB 3.0 Hub (Displayport)
    Samsung 32″ SyncMaster (1920 x 1080)
    Dell 24″ P2414H (RGB) (1920 x 1080)
    LogiTech C920 WebCam
    Creative Labs External SoundBlaster
    This set-up is STABLE – BUT in 2.5 years of use, it has required a couple of 2-3 hour blocks of focused attention.
    Recently, when I added the Dell, I had to go deep into Device manager and delete display drivers. I them re-downloaded Samsung drivers. I also noticed a (very) new DisplayPort driver was available (upgrade hub firmware)

    I wish the single USB connector on my Surface Pro 3 was less susceptible to disconnection when I rearrange my desktop.

    HOWEVER, I can mitigate that by not tinkering during the business day (or a video conference call). It is important to note that it always boots up with correct video settings.

  31. I am running a 23″ HP monitor off the docking station of the Pro 4. No issues and runs brighter than my Mac Book Pro Retina. Pull the charging cable and it reverts to a single monitor. Plug back in secondary monitor comes back online without issue and with the correct wallpaper. Extremely stable without an issue.

  32. I support 11 Surface Pros (2s, 3,s and 4s) and one Surface book.

    The biggest way to solve most headaches/slight annoyances is to dock BEFORE powering up and powering down BEFORE undocking. Of course, this isn’t always feasible, and almost always results in icons moving, scaling messing up once redocking, etc.

    One of our SP3s and one of the 4s have issues with the external display flashing off for 3 or 4 seconds when plugged into the newest style dock. Plugging directly into the Surface seems to solve this issue.

    The original SP3 dock had all kinds of issues when using DP 1.2 Daisey-Chaining. We’ve replaced most of those with the newer docks and are pretty happy thus far (minus the two users with flashing displays).

    Basically, it almost seems like a crap-shoot with these surface pros. I have the SP3 and rarely have to dock/undock with my surface already turned on and have virtually no problems connecting two 24″ FullHD dell monitors on the newer style dock. At home I’ve the SP3 dock connected to a Qnix 27″ 2560×1440 monitor and have no issues with that, either, until a KVM comes into play, but I’m pretty sure that’s an issue with the KVM.

  33. Running an i7 16gb sp4 on a 4k samsung 28″ monitor through the native display port (on the tablet). I’m using the recommended 200% magnification. I’m using the monitor as a screen extension as I sometimes like to write in onenote on the tablet face down and keep my desktop and other windows on the monitor (ex: web browsing, digital textbooks, ps4 video stream in one quadrant).

    Surface is being displayed at the 2k resolution and is outputting a 4k resolution to the monitor. It overworks the surface when I have a twitch or youtube stream and a few browser tabs running on the monitor. The stream skips in a consistent pattern every few seconds and only happens when displayed on the monitor. My guess it’s the graphics card, even if I have the sp4 with the intel iris graphics. It can still run some really light games on steam but not without the fans kicking up and can only do so on the surface display (they rarely do so it worries me when they do).

    It always flashes when I plug the mini dp cable in (mini display port into a full display port on the monitor) or when it’s already plugged in and I start the surface. I think it’s normal and it only does it once which I’m guessing is just to adjust to the screen. No loss in image quality on either screens. Best resolutions are maintained. No bluriness at all. No need to restart anything after the first initial flash when it’s recognizing that a monitor is connected.

    It’s works great for me at my desk, perfect for long work periods and entertainment when I need it. The ability to plug in at a desk with a separate wireless keyboard to use as a desktop for extended typing and to be able to just disconnect the mini dp cable and take the essential tablet and type cover with me on the go with the same computing power is perfect.

  34. SurfaceBook – surface dock & anker USB3.0 dock.
    Both are awful when the primary display is enabled. Scaling is off and there are all sorts of artifacts in various applications where my clicks aren’t landing correctly.

    Works okay when I disable the primary screen, but that would have been a dealbreaker if I’d have known in advance

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