How do I enable the HDMI port on my desktop PC?
March 9, 2022 6:41 AM   Subscribe

The hdmi port in the back of my work computer has a sticker on it that says "disabled" I asked my employer/IT person why this is and he has no idea.

So I'm assuming the computer just came that way when it was purchased by the company, Who knows?

Anyway, the port is there. I don't have an hdmi cable at the moment to test it, but I would like to find the HDMI on the pc to see it's status and see if I can enable it.
posted by fantasticness to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh and I have Windows 10 Home installed
posted by fantasticness at 6:42 AM on March 9

It's a desktop, yes? Does it have a secondary video card? Usually the onboards are disabled if that's the case. If you can link to a picture taken of the entire back of the tower, that may also be useful.
posted by deezil at 6:53 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]

You might not have the permissions you need to muck around in the BIOS of a work-owned computer but that is likely where the solution to this lies.
posted by mhoye at 6:57 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I've been given the go-ahead to do what I want with the computer. I don't mind mucking around the bios, but i just need the steps. When I use google to search this I get all sorts of garbage about the hdmi cord itself. Can't take a photo at the moment, but if it helps- I currently have a 2 display set up, but it's using an analogue splitter. I'd like to add a 3rd screen if the graphics card allows for it, and figured I'd use an HDMI for the 3rd screen since one of our displays does have an hdmi port that definitely works (tested it with my personal laptop). I don't mind using another analogue for the 3rd screen, but I don't see any 3 way analogue splitters around which makes me think it's probably not possible that way.
posted by fantasticness at 7:11 AM on March 9

I think deezil has it. There's a secondary video card and the motherboard port is disabled. This used to happen not infrequently with tower-style desktop PCs, where a different/better video card would occupy a PCI slot. As I recall (and I could very well be wrong), you can have one or the other, but not both.
posted by briank at 7:21 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]

Or, extending on deezil's answer, it's possible that's an onboard HDMI port if your CPU has an integrated graphics card, but your current CPU doesn't have integrated graphics, so there's no way to get video out of that HDMI port. That's the difference between a Ryzen CPU and a Ryzen APU in AMD's processor line, and I believe Intel doesn't provide integrated graphics on all of their chips, either.

If you're lucky, it might work if you take out the graphics card that your current displays are plugged in to. But we'll definitely need pictures and model numbers to be closer to certain.
posted by Kyol at 7:23 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]

If the onboard processor supports it (some do have a video card, some do not), you might be able to enable it in the bios as the "onboard" video. But in this case, it might have been sold with a CPU that does not include a GPU. In which case, that port goes nowhere.

In the bios, there will certainly be an "enable onboard video" option to try and turn it on, if the BIOS detects it in that CPU model.
posted by nickggully at 7:42 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]

Keeping with what others have said, my office had a few Dell Optiplex 3420 desktops that came from the factory with the sticker, "Non-active port" covering an integrated DisplayPort socket. Dell forums listed some CPU options for that model that supported that integrated DP output--and some CPUs that did not support that integrated DP output and thus had the sticker.

Also yes, some workstation models can't support integrated graphics and a graphics card simultaneously. I've not seen a factory sticker covering the integrated port for those. Rather, in those cases, maybe not yours, BIOS startup issued an error if the integrated graphics was enabled and a graphics card was detected.
posted by gregoreo at 8:05 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]

We will need to know a bit more about the PC, exact model number, maybe some info that can be provided by Speccy, which reads the info off the PC itself. Once we have that, we'd be able to see if it's simply disabled, as they often are, in BIOS settings.
posted by kschang at 9:10 AM on March 9

One other possibility is that it's active, just marked disabled to keep you from shooting yourself in the foot.

If you plug a monitor into the mainboard's HDMI port instead of the one on your GPU, the BIOS will sometimes sense this and disable the GPU. Guess how I know this one...
posted by neckro23 at 12:06 PM on March 9

For something this specific, find Dell's support boards; the answer is probably there, or you can ask and have a good chance of an accurate answer. At the very least do a search constrained to site:*
posted by theora55 at 1:06 PM on March 9

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