How to Turn a Laptop into a Desktop

If you are a laptop owner that tends to use your machine from the same place most of the time, have you ever wondered “how to turn laptop into desktop?” The main reason for doing this is to improve the overall functionality of your laptop. In this detailed guide, we will explain how you can turn your laptop into a desktop.

One of the best things about converting your laptop into a desktop is that you still retain the portability aspect if you need it. You will be connecting some additional hardware to your laptop, such as a larger screen, for example. Crouching over a laptop all day is not the best for your posture. So, you need to consider the following:

How to Turn a Laptop into a Desktop

1. Add a monitor

Turn Laptop into Desktop Add a Monitor

Even if your laptop has a very bright and nice display, it is not the best idea to look at this all day as it can lead to neck problems. By adding another monitor, you can position this more naturally so that you will look higher up. Having a larger monitor to work with is also less strain on your eyes as the real estate is bigger.

It is much better to watch videos on a larger monitor screen than on a laptop screen. You need to check the type of connections for an external monitor that exists on your laptop. For a long time, laptops have had HDMI out ports. These are great as you can connect your machine to a large screen TV using an HDMI cable.

If you don’t have a large screen TV that you can use with your laptop, plenty of other monitors you can choose from. The price of these monitors has come down a lot over recent years, so you should be able to find something that fits the bill without breaking the bank.

Once you have your monitor with the right port you need, it is easy to attach it to your laptop. Whether you have a Windows or Mac laptop, as soon as you connect your external monitor, the operating system should immediately recognize it and display what is on your laptop right away. You can change settings for your monitor using the System preferences.

2. Set up a keyboard and mouse

Turn Laptop into Desktop Set up a keyboard and mouse

A laptop will generally have a built-in keyboard and a trackpad mouse. These are fine but can become tiresome to use after a while if your laptop is in the same place. An external keyboard can provide you with a better typing position for your body. You can also have a better experience with an external mouse as well. 

External keyboards are relatively inexpensive so go for one that has everything, such as media shortcut keys and number keys. You can get a keyboard that you can plug into a USB port on your laptop. But, again, your operating system should immediately detect it when you plug it in. The alternative to this is a wireless keyboard which will provide you with greater flexibility.

There are many different types of external mice available too. Once again, you can go for a USB option or wireless. These devices are available at a low price these days and will make a lot of difference. If you experience any difficulties connecting an external keyboard or mouse, then check the settings in your operating system.

3. Install a stand

Turn Laptop into Desktop Install a stand

You can make your life a lot easier when you purchase a laptop stand. In fact, you could just go for a laptop stand instead of opting for an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. But, of course, it depends on what preferences you have.

The job of a laptop stand is to raise your machine so that you can position it at a more comfortable height. This is much better for your neck and your eyes. Also, the built-in keyboard and the trackpad mouse will be in a better position too. You can choose a stand that will make these accessible at a more comfortable height for your arms.

If you want an additional larger monitor and like the idea of an external keyboard and mouse, then a stand may be a waste of time for you. It will undoubtedly cost more to go for the additional monitor, external keyboard, and external mouse, though.

There are many different types of laptop stand available these days. First, you can get a basic stand made from aluminum that will simply raise your machine up above your desk. Then there are the more complex types of stands that you can adjust to get your laptop in the ideal working position for you.

You should find that the vast majority of the laptop stands available will work with most laptops. But always check this first. Maybe your laptop is particularly large and heavy, for example, and you will need a bigger and robust laptop stand for this.

Before you purchase a laptop stand, you need to think about what you want to achieve. For example, if you have decided to add an external keyboard and mouse, how will these work with a stand? With some laptop stands, you can include peripherals as well. But, on the other hand, perhaps you just want to move your laptop out of the way to give you more desk space?

When you add external components such as a monitor, keyboard, and mouse that are not wireless, you need to think about those additional cables. There are some laptop stands available that will cater for cable management. Take your time when choosing a laptop stand as there are many options open to you. With some stands, you can even dock your smartphone or tablet.

4. Connect a dock

Turn Laptop into Desktop Connect a dock

Usually, a laptop will have a limited number of ports available. However, with a desktop computer, you can usually add many ports to meet all of your requirements. For example, maybe you need a memory card reader, and your laptop does not have this at the moment.

If your laptop only has a limited number of ports and you need more, you can get a dock or hub for your laptop that will immediately increase the number of ports available. For example, perhaps you need an HDMI out port for your additional monitor or an Ethernet port.

Branded laptops from well-known manufacturers will often have docks that are specifically tailored to your model. There are simple docs and advanced docks, and the prices will rise according to the additional functionality you require.

A dock can be a great investment as it can provide you with a convenient way to make your laptop more flexible. In addition, laptops often have a few USB ports, and a dock can expand this for you. However, think about the additional functionality you need before investing in a dock for your laptop.


Laptops are great for their portability, but if you are always working in the same place with your machine, making it more like a desktop is worthwhile. You can add a much larger monitor using HDMI, and you can also connect an external keyboard and mouse for more flexibility. A dock can provide you with the additional ports that you may need.

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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