How to Extend your Desktop with Chromecast

Google Chromecast

NOTE: Originally published with just Windows information, the information on how to extend your desktop on a Mac was added August 3, 2016.

Google Chromecast mirrors your display from Android devices, an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows and Chromebook. Mirroring shows your screen exactly as you see it on your computer or mobile device. You can also extend your desktop surface, not just mirror it. However, to extend your desktop or laptop screen with Chromecast, some minor effort is required on your part. Here are the steps needed to extend your display from a Windows 8 or Windows 10 desktop:

Extend your Desktop from Windows with Chromecast

This walkthrough includes screenshots from Windows 10. However, since this method of extending your display works with Windows 8 as well, you can follow the same steps for that Windows version.

  1. From the Start menu, select “Settings.” (An alternate route is to right-click on “Display Settings” on your desktop as a shortcut to get into System > Display.)  Windows 10 settings
  2. In Settings, go to “System (Display, notifications, apps, power).”  Windows 10 System
  3. Once in Display, click on “Detect.” Here, we are going to trick Windows into thinking there’s a secondary display already attached, even though it isn’t. It says “Display not detected,” but shows a blue screen—click on it.Detect display
  4. Go down to “Multiple displays” and click the drop-down box. Then, select “Try to connect anyway on VGA.”  Connect to VGA
  5. Select display 2 and, in the drop-down box, “Extend these displays.” Click the “Apply” button. A message will pop up and say, “Keep these display settings?” Click the “Keep Changes” button.

Extend these Displays

Keep these display settings

Now you are ready to use the secondary display to extend your desktop surface through your Google Chrome browser and Chromecast.

  • Open Google Chrome on your desktop.
  • Before connecting to your Chromecast with the Chromecast icon in the upper-right of your Chrome browser, you first need to click the small arrow on the Chromecast icon area and scroll down to “Cast Screen/Window (experimental).” Then, select it.Click Google cast arrow
  • Choose the “Cast Screen Window” to display number 2, the one we just fooled Windows into thinking we have. Now you should be able to see your Windows desktop on your computer and your TV screen.

You now have an extended desktop surface. This allows you to move extra open windows, open programs, and applications between your desktop and TV screen.

Extend your Desktop on a Mac

Now we’ll take a look at how you can also extend your Mac’s desktop screen through your Google Chromecast device.

Google Chrome Browser

In order to cast to your Google Chromecast from your Mac, you’ll need to download and install the most current version of Google’s Chrome browser. Chromecast support now comes built right into the Chrome browser. (In the past, you would’ve had to download and install a separate extension for Chromecast usage.)                                          Get Chrome Browser

Once your Google Chrome browser is downloaded and installed, or open on your Mac, you’ll want to make sure you have the most current version.

  • Click on Chrome in the upper left-hand corner of your screen; then, select “About Chrome.” At the time of this writing, our version of the Chrome browser is 52. As long as your Chrome browser is up to date, once you select “About Chrome,” it’ll notify you that you are using the most current version of Chrome available. Otherwise, click on the button to get updates when given the option.                                                                                                            About Chrome Browser

When your Google Chrome browser is up-to-date and ready to go, do the following:

  1. Click on the Google Chromecast icon in the upper right of your Chrome browser.   Chromecast icon
  2. Once the “Cast to” box opens, select the drop-down arrow—you’ll be presented with two choices: “Cast tab” or “Cast desktop.”  Chromecast cast to
  3. Choose “Cast desktop;” then you’re returned to the main Chromecast selection box. Chromecast Desktop Mac
  4. Next, select your Chromecast device. Ours keeps telling us it’s “Unable to mirror system audio” at this time.  Chromecast no audio
  5. Another box pops up on the screen, asking, “Do you want Chrome Media Router to share your screen?” Click on the “Yes” button. Chromecast media
  6. Now your Mac desktop has extended to where your Chromecast device is plugged in.  Mac Desktop extended CC

Keep in mind that the sound is only audible on your Mac, and not on your extended display and sound set-up. We also noticed a slight lag in playback on our extended display, which is a large-screen TV.

Display extension will come in handy when you are working on something from your laptop or desktop and want to watch, look at, or work on something else on a bigger display like your television. Whatever your needs are for extending your desktop screen—work or pleasure—this is an excellent way to use the Chromecast to your advantage when you need a bigger desktop.

Posted by Heather on April 23, 2016

12 thoughts on “How to Extend your Desktop with Chromecast”

  1. Zayta Thundercloud says:

    Is this possible to do on a mac? I am currently unable to do it.

    1. Will says:

      We have added the information on how to extend your MacOS desktop to the post above.

  2. gene says:

    I have a surface pro 4 with two monitors attached. Is it possible to only share one of them or a specific program like it was before the update? Now when i share my desktop it puts all three screens up on the tv and you cant read any of them because they are so small. Sure liked the way it used to work.

  3. Nate says:

    When I click on “detect display” i do not get a second “phantom” option, only a notice that none was detected,

  4. Heather says:

    Thanks for asking Gene. We will do some testing and get back to you.

  5. Heather says:

    Thanks for commenting, Nate. The only time we’ve experienced what you’re describing was when we tried to use Parallels on a Mac. Are you on a dedicated Windows only computer?

    1. Omar Mancinas says:

      I don´t get a “phantom” second monitor neither. I’m using Windows 10 x64.

  6. James Slupsky says:

    I’ve tried the instructions for the Mac, and it works as stated; however, how do I get a second monitor to cast? I am trying to run a presentation, where the presenter sees something different on their mac screen than what is cast. This used to work in beta mode (I could select which desktop to cast), but I don’t see to have that option with the recent updates.

  7. Heather says:

    We’ve not yet found a solution for the second monitor running on Windows. They have updated Chrome and have changed the Chromecasting function somewhat. We will update you when we have more new information.

  8. Heather says:

    The only solution we’ve seen to create a second monitor instead of mirroring the Mac desktop with the newer versions of Chrome haven’t been found yet. A suggestion that could work for you might be the Airparrot 2 app. You’ll get a free trial period and if you’re happy with it, it can be purchased for $12.99 once the trial period expires.

  9. Rainscreen says:

    Regarding the Mac version. Your title says “Extending” the monitor. However the instructions are for “mirroring” the monitor.

  10. tom burns says:

    i have chromecast on my phone and on a tablet . im trying to figure out how to download it to my pc. when i go to Google….it wont load. ive hit the tab on Google Chrome, “cast” all it does is show or mirror that screen. please help if you can

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