Having a dual or multiple monitors setup is really help in multitasking. At my office, I have a triple monitors setup, my main Surface Book display, a 29-inch ultrawide, and a 21.5-inch monitor on either side. With that setup, I can view multiple websites up to 6 websites side by side for doing research, writing articles, and doing many other things.
When I work outside my office, I also have my own portable multiple monitors setup. I don’t have a portable monitor, but instead, I have used my Surface 3 as a portable wireless display and it works pretty well for web browsing and most activities.
In this guide, I will walk you through the steps to connect and configure your Surface PCs as a portable wireless display.
- Preparing your Surface PCs
- Configuring a Surface PC (Surface 3) as a Portable Monitor
- Projecting the Surface PC (Surface Book) to a Wireless Display (Surface 3)
1 Preparing your Surface PCs
Before you continue, make sure your both Surface PCs meet the following requirements:
- Running Windows 10 with Anniversary Update or later.
- Connecting to the same wireless network.
- Surface PCs with the Miracast protocol Support. Fortunately, all Surface lineup except the original Surface RT supports these protocols. Click here for detailed Surface support for Miracast.
In this scenario, I will use my Surface Book as the main PC and a Surface 3 as a portable monitor just like the picture above. Let’s get started!
2 Configuring a Surface PC (Surface 3) as a Portable Monitor
To configure your Surface PC (Surface 3) as a wireless display do the following:
- Open Settings.
- Click on System.
- Click on Projecting to this PC.
- Select Available everywhere or Available everywhere on secure networks from the first option.
- Select First time only or Every time a connection is requested from the second option. If you don’t want to confirm every time you connect, choose the First time only option.
- Turn on the Required PIN for pairing, if you need an extra protection.
- Make sure you turn off the “This PC can be discovered for projection only when it is plugged in as you will use your Surface PC as a portable display.
- Finally, you will need to confirm Yes when you project from another computer to this PC.
3 Projecting the Surface PC (Surface Book) to a Wireless Display (Surface 3)
Once you have configured your Surface PC (Surface 3) to accept projection, On your main PC (Surface Book) do the following:
- Open Action Center.
- Click Connect button.
- Click the name of remote wireless display PC (Surface 3) you want to project. You may need to confirm the connection on another PC (Surface 3) depending on your configuration. If the connection fails, you will need to try again.
- Once connected, Toggle the “Allow input from a keyboard or mouse connected to this display”, if you also want to use the remote computer (Surface 3)’s mouse, keyboard, touch, and pen input on your main PC (Surface Book).
- You can also change the projection mode just like a real connected monitor, by clicking on Change projection mode or just press Win + P on your keyboard.
- Finally, when you finish your work click Disconnect to stop your connection.
Let us know what you think!
We appreciate hearing your thoughts, questions, and ideas about “How to Use Your Surface PC as a Portable Display”.
Im deciding to buy a tablet rn and seeing this article made me wonder if connecting a Surface Pro to my workshop desktop or gaming laptop could work as an additional pen display (like a Wacom Critiq?) it doesnt have thunderbolt or LTE support but the idea of a Critiq 2+1 in 1 would be irresistible!
so can a Surface pro be used as a Wacom Critiq alternative with fully functional pen?
I was hoping for the same, however, if your main laptop/computer does not support inking/pen input then inking is disabled on the connected display it seems
Did anybody find a solution for making the main computer think that it supports inking/pen input?
I was also planning to use surface pro more like a pen display for my gaming laptop, but my laptop doesn`t have a touch screen. If I can feed the pen input from the surface pro to my laptop it would be awesome.
You can use microsofts remote desktop app. Enable remote desktop on your laptop and then connect it from your surface. I am able to use my surface as touch input device using this function. But both should be on same wi-fi network.
Hi, can I use a surface pro as a second monitor when my main computer is a mac?. I wouldn’t mind using any type of cable/adapter.
You say both devices need to be on the same network. Is it possible to just use a usb or thunderbolt (network or other cable) to connect both devices directly without connecting through some existing network?
Thanks for the article. At least I know that there is a native solution in Windows. I have a Surface 3 as well, but for me it is pretty much useless. More or less I would like to use my Surface as Rramrram would but on native resolution Surface 3’s display only can work on 24 hz which results in lags, and all in all it cannot be used as a device which could handle these type of tasks. Even YouTube has serious problems. I have an AC router, the PC’s built in WiFi also works on AC and AFAIK Surface does too. It’s good for static things like Excel or word, or browsing a website but nothing more.
Maybe I’m missing some settings…
Macs and Apples are within is a walled garden. Is does not support the Miracast standard, supported by many devices. So its a no go, regardless. If you’re on Macs, you’ll be forever trapped within Apple’s expensive ecosystem for most to all solutions, unfortunately.
I cannot discover another surface pro in the same network while doing PROJECT to second monitor, but I cannot see this surface pro when doing network discovery. Any hint to do further troubleshooting?
Thanks for that great explanation! Finally I can use my actual workhorse Surface Pro (2017) together with my old SP3 without any additional software.
Is there a troubleshooting guide? I keep getting a “Couldn’t connect to your device” message.
1 – how do I enable the battery status on the old surface pro (the monitor) – right now it’s only showing the date and time on the lower right hand corner
2 – how do I set up the old surface pro to be in a default monitor state = when I turn it on it will immediately come up as monitor? right now I need to login each time and set it to be the 2nd monitor
I wanted to buy a mini computer, and wanted to know if it’s possible to use my surface pro 4 as a monitor for it. is it also possible to do that via “projecting to this PC”?
otherwise, is it possible to do that via a (bidirectional) DP to mini DB cable? surface 4 has a miniDP port, but i’m not sure if it’s INPUT or OUTPUT only…
1.You can output HDMI from your main PC, and connect it to the surface using “HDMI to USB capture card”,
2.Then add it as “Video capture device” in OBS,
3.Project the OBS output as “Fullscreen projector”