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How To Assign VLC To A Display In A Multi-Display Setup

Windows 10 has reasonably good multi-display support. There are still quite a few features that users have on their wishlist but overall, the support has improved compared to previous versions. On Windows 10, apps remember which monitor they were open on. There are some exceptions to this rule e.g., Chrome windows from different profiles all open on the same, usually wrong, monitor. There’s no OS level work around for this but apps can implement one if necessary. It’s something a media player app like VLC does. You can assign VLC to a display from its settings and never worry about it opening on the wrong one, ever.

Assign VLC To A Display

Open VLC player and go to Tools>Preferences, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P.

On the preferences window, go to the Video tab.Under the ‘Enable Video’ section, open the ‘Ouput’ dropdown and change the value from ‘Automatic’ to ‘DirectX (DirectDraw) Output.

Next, look under the DirectX section where you have a dropdown for Display device. Open it and select the display you want to assign VLC player to. If you leave it at ‘Default’, it will open on your main display. If you don’t have your second, or third display connected, this option will not automatically list it.

This will only dictate which display VLC will open in by default. You can always drag a window to a different display if you want. Quit VLC and open it again. Play something and it ought to play it on the assigned display.

We should mention that while this is a built-in feature in VLC, and it’s been there for quite a while now, it is still buggy. You may not get any video output at all or it may not remember which display it was assigned to. This is, unfortunately, a shortcoming that you’ll find when dealing with multiple displays on most desktop operating systems. VLC makes a reasonably good effort to work with multiple displays but it has its hiccups. You should still move the VLC player window to your preferred monitor, just in case the feature fails.

Identify Display

It’s pretty easy to identify a display on Windows. On Windows 10, open the Settings app. Go to the System group of settings and select the Display tab. Click the ‘Identify’ button and a number will be super-imposed on your screen (briefly) telling you which display is which. You can, of course change the displays by dragging them and VLC will most likely be able to recognize the new display order.


  1. Hi, I’m looking to combine the functions you’ve addressed indiviually in 2 of your videos: I’d like to run multiple instances of VLC player (using the shortcut assigned to a playlist function) but with specific instance assigned to sepcific displays (4 monitors and 4 CCTV feeds) are you able to advise how this is best achieved? (it looks to me like the assigned monitor function is a global setting as each saved playlist wants to open on the monitor that was last selected in the last saved configuration…

  2. OK so I think I figured out how this can work for me but Not really. On the Interface page I had unchecked “integrate video in interface” because what I wanted was to have control of VLC in my main window and send the video to a projector. That was breaking the always play video in second window. The small VLC window will open in the main window and you can click fullscreen or type “f” and it will jump to the second screen. If you check the box labeled “fullscreen” it will open fullscreen on the second screen. for me at least. To control it i can select the VLC item in the task bar of my main window and use all the hotkeys or right click on the “hidden icons” near the time in the task bar. THIS IS NOT HOW I WANT THIS TO WORK. But it works.

  3. Dosen’t work. It reset to automatic once vlc is closed and re-opened. The file is in 4k, but my screen isen’t. I can’t find a way to start vlc in a fixed sized window because that’s ANNOYING.

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