Step 2 is the hard part.

Matt Ginzton writes here.

Windows External-monitor Support Has Come a Long Way

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Visiting parents for the holidays, I wanted to show a slide show from my and Vanessa’s recent travels, and wanted to show this on their big screen TV, not on a little laptop screen.

The slide show was happily residing on 2 different Mac laptops; the older one has a DVI port and the newer one has a Mini DisplayPort and the big screen TV in question only has HDMI inputs and I couldn’t find my cables/dongles to convert either DVI or Mini DisplayPort to HDMI.

Enter my brother’s newish Dell laptop, which conveniently has a real full- sized HDMI port and can, gasp, be connected to any modern TV with a standard HDMI cable. Better yet, it actually includes audio-out over HDMI (which I think would hypothetically also be true of my newer MacBook Pro’s DisplayPort, albeit requiring a newer/smarter dongle than the one I have and couldn’t find).

The problem showed up when testing different display resolutions and sound support and getting confused by the fact my brother had silenced all the system sounds on his laptop, I unplugged and replugged the HDMI cable between the laptop and TV maybe 20 times, and eventually the TV stopped showing anything at all. Based on past experience with Windows having flaky support for eternal displays, the first thing I did was reboot the laptop, at which point the external display still wasn’t working.

Then I rebooted the TV, and the image came right back. So score one for Windows — it’s now no longer the weak link in the chain, when talking to external displays (think of all the conferences/presentations you’ve seen start 10 minutes late because the presenter was screwing around with Windows display settings trying to get it to talk reasonably to the projector) — at least in this case. (Though my brother then asked if it’s really a win for Windows if it’s sending out signals that crash TVs.)