How to Set Main Display in Windows 11

This post shows students and new users how to set the primary display when using Windows 11 with dual monitors in extend mode.

Window 11 supports multiple display monitors. When your computer detects multiple displays, each display will be numbered to help you identify them more easily. A number appears on the screen of the display it’s assigned to.

You can rearrange the display based on how your physical monitors are setup. To arrange the display, select and drag the display to where you want it, (right or left of the others).

By default, when your computer detects dual monitors, the desktop is duplicated on all displays which allows you to see the same thing on all your displays.

You can change the way the desktop are displayed on the monitor. These are the different of settings you can choose from.

  • PC screen: See things on one display only
  • Duplicate: See things on all displays
  • Extend: See your desktop across multiple displays
  • Second screen only: See everything on the second display

In most environments, you will want to use your displays in extend mode and set one monitor as a main or primary display. The main display will act as the active desktop, and shows the clock and taskbar corner icons. The active display shows the sign-in message, displays the CTRL + ALT + DEL, and all apps and items will automatically launch on the active or main display.

To get your main display in Windows 11, follow the steps below:

How to change your main display in Windows 11

Again, as mentioned above, it’s always good to use the extend mode and have one display as a main or primary display when using Windows with dual monitors.

To do that, continue below.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click System, select Display on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

On the Display settings pane, Windows will detect two displays. You can use the Identify button to identify each monitor by number.

You can then use select the option to Extend these displays as highlighted below.

Next, select the display you want as your main or primary display, then check the highlighted box to “Make this my main display

That will immediately switch your app icons and make it the main display. In some cases, you’ll have to reboot to fully see all apps icons and clock switched over to the main monitor.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to set the main display when using Windows 11 with dual displays. If you find any error above please use the comment form below to report.