Can You Hook a Dell Monitor to an HP Computer?

By Steve Lander

HDMI cables connect some HP computers and Dell monitors.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Dell monitors will work with HP computers and vice versa. In fact, Dell monitors are so compatible that models that include the right ports can even work with Apple Macintosh computers. The key determinant as to whether a given Dell monitor will work with a given HP computer is whether they share the same connection port. For example, HP Ultrabooks that lack VGA ports require a Dell monitor that has a HDMI port.


The key challenge that can occur when connecting a computer to a different monitor is that they may have different resolutions. Flat-screen monitors have a fixed number of pixels and using them at a matching resolution will give you the best image quality. If your HP computer is not set to your Dell monitor's native resolution, open the computer's Control Panel, select "Appearance and Personalization" and then select "Adjust screen resolution." Click on the "Resolution" drop down menu and slide the slider until your monitor's native resolution is chosen. When you are done, click "Apply" then click "Keep" when the confirmation dialog box pops up. You can close the Control Panel when you are done.

VGA Connections

The 15-pin VGA connector remains the best-known monitor connection. It carries an analog signal between your computer and monitor and supports resolutions up to 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall. Because they are analog, VGA signals can be prone to interference from other nearby electrical signals. They also will not carry a full-resolution Blu-ray image because they lack support for the HDCP standard.

DVI Connections

DVI plugs look a little bit like VGA plugs, but instead of having staggered round pins they have a grid of pins with a jack that looks like an extended Tic-Tac-Toe board. They carry digital signals between your PC and monitor and support higher resolutions. Some DVI cables support HDCP, letting you use them to display movies from your HP computer's Blu-ray drive if it has one.

HDMI Connections

HDMI connections are the same standard that home theater devices use. Like DVI connections, they are digital and always support HDCP because it is part of the HDMI standard. They have the benefit of having a relatively small connector and cable and carry both sound and audio signals on the same cable. If you will be using your Dell monitor with an HP Ultrabook computer, you will have to use HDMI since those computers are too thin to have VGA or DVI ports.