Disconnecting an external monitor is easy; just pull out the VGA or HDMI cord that’s connected to your laptop. It’s pretty simple but if you don’t feel like yanking cords out whenever you want to disconnect a monitor, you need a simpler solution that doesn’t force you to repeatedly connect and disconnect cables. We’re not saying connecting and disconnecting a cable isn’t a viable solution. In fact, it’s probably the simplest one that will work every single time and has no side-effects. The only thing is, cables and ports can be damaged if you connect and disconnect them too much, or if you’re not careful when you do it. Here are two viable solutions to disconnecting a monitor without unplugging it.
Mirror Your Display
If you want to disconnect a monitor simply because you don’t need an extended desktop for a short period of time, you can just mirror your displays. This will make it so that both internal and external displays show you the exact same thing. There’s no selecting which is the primary display, and which is the secondary display. All apps that you open will appear on both screen.
To mirror your display, tap the Win+P keyboard shortcut. From the menu that appears, select the Duplicate option. You can cycle through these options by holding down the Windows key and tapping the P key. This will work on Windows 7 and up.
When you extend your display again, Windows will remember which display was the primary one, and which was the secondary one.
Disconnect A Monitor
If duplicating the display doesn’t do the trick and you need to simulate the display actually being disconnected, consider using the Multi Monitor Tool. It’s a free utility by Nirosoft that lets you manage multiple displays. It has quite a few features including an option to turn off or disable any connected display. This tool works only if you have two or more displays.
Run Multi Monitor Tool and from the list of displays that it populates, select your external display. Right-click it and select either ‘Disable selected monitors’, or ‘Turn Off Monitors’. This will apply only to the monitor you’ve selected. To turn the monitor back on, select it again, and select the Enable or Turn On option.
This method has a small problem; when you enable or turn on an external monitor, Windows doesn’t remember which was your primary and which was your secondary monitor. The monitor that you connect is always set as the secondary monitor.
You can go to the Settings app on Windows 10 and under System>Display, set your primary and secondary monitors again. If that is too inconvenient, you can instead save your current monitor configuration and load it after enabling your second monitor. This will return your display settings back to the way they were before you disconnected the external monitor.
To save your current monitor configuration, set up your displays exactly how you like them. Open the Multi Monitor Tool and go to File>Save Monitors Configuration. To load a configuration, go to File>Load monitors configuration.