How To Fix Generic PnP Monitor Errors
Have you bought the latest curved Acer gaming monitor, plugged it in, and double-clicked it to start your favorite game? Or maybe you finally got that 4K screen and now want to binge-watch something on Netflix. However, before even packing away your old monitor, you noticed a problem with the new one – the resolution wasn’t right. Maybe you were excited to enjoy life in 1920×1024 but your operating system had other plans – it kept you stuck at a measly 1024×728.
None of us likes when this happens and unfortunately, it happens more often than it should. Seeing that Generic PnP Monitor line in the driver window can make you want to pull your hair out.
But, most people make a bigger deal out of it than need be. In this article, we’ll explain why this error occurs, what it means, and how you can fix it or live with it.
The Generic PnP Monitor: An Explanation
Contrary to popular belief, a generic PnP monitor is not a type of monitor. Nor is it a designation reserved for cheap or off-brand products. This label is applied by the operating system when it can’t identify the model number, or when it doesn’t recognize/have the correct drivers.
As with most pieces of hardware, monitors (especially newer-generation versions) come with drivers. These enable you to make use of various specific functions. In simple terms, monitors perform better, or at least as intended, when your OS uses the appropriate drivers.
Thus, the term “generic PnP monitor” is nothing but a warning that things might not work out as you planned. It’s an indication that your PC is having a hard time detecting the external monitor. It doesn’t mean that you can’t actually use it.
What Is Causing an Error?
As for why this error occurs, this is where things get interesting. In many cases, it comes down to a connection issue. This is the reason why most people associate the “generic PNP monitor” message with having a cheap product.
You can connect your monitor to a graphics card through different cables. VGA was once the standard, the world moved on and switched to DVI, then HDMI came along, and so on. Nowadays, graphics cards can accommodate at least two types of connections, as can most monitors.
However, this doesn’t mean that all cables are created equal or give you the same quality. It also doesn’t guarantee that your graphics card, or your PC, will recognize all possible connections.
Therefore, the issue sometimes comes from the cable itself. The connection between the graphics card and the monitor may not be optimal when using a VGA over a DVI cable, HDMI over VGA, etc.
Then there is the always-possible faulty hardware. Something could be wrong with your monitor; it can still work but not enough for your PC to set it to the desired resolution.
In other cases, the cables themselves may not establish a proper connection. Again, you can see the screen, use the monitor, just not at the resolution you want.
Finally, you have your often popular (especially on Windows) driver problems. Both corrupted drivers or outdated versions can cause the generic PnP monitor driver error. If the OS can’t load the drivers, but the monitor is functional, you can have limited use of it.
How To Fix Generic PNP Monitor Errors
Now you know what can prompt your OS to give you this error. After you do some troubleshooting to narrow down the issue, you can attempt some of the following fixes.
Replacing the Cable
Try using a different cable to see if your PC still struggles to recognize your monitor. Test different connections like VGA, DVI, HDMI, depending on what your graphics card can support.
It’s also best to do this after unplugging your monitor and rebooting your PC. This will allow it to perform a new scan once the system boots up.
Updating the Drivers
Sometimes plugging the monitor into your PC is enough to establish a connection. But, various factors can prevent your OS from automatically finding the correct driver.
If that’s the case, then the solution is likely simple.
- Pull up your Start Menu search bar.
- Type “Device Manager “and hit “Enter.”
- Go to the Monitors section and expand the list.
- Identify the generic PnP monitor you want to use.
- Right-click and select the “Update Driver” option.
- Get your OS to search for updated software online.
Another option is to first uninstall the driver.
- Type “Device Manager” in your Search Bar.
- Expand the Monitors list.
- Right-click the monitor you want to use.
- Select the “Uninstall Device” option.
- Go to the Action Menu on the Device Manager toolbar.
- Click on the “Scan for Hardware Changes” option.
Allow the process to finish before restarting your device. This method may make it easier on your OS to automatically find the correct driver, working off a clean installation.
In the event that this doesn’t work, there’s another way. Go to your monitor’s manufacturer website. Input the model or product serial number to identify the correct driver.
Manually download and install the driver and reboot your device.
Fixing the Display Adapters
Are you running the latest version of your graphics card driver? Perhaps you’re working with an integrated display adapter and you haven’t updated it in a while.
Having an outdated driver may cause the “generic PnP monitor” error.
- Go to your Device Manager window.
- Click on the arrow icon next to the Display Adapters.
- Select your card and update the driver.
- Alternatively, manually download and install the latest driver.
Reboot your computer and see if you still get the “generic PnP monitor” error.
How Often Does This Happen to You?
Believe it or not, seeing the “generic PnP monitor” error happens a lot. You can get it even after a fresh Windows installation. You can even get stuck with it after installing the correct drivers.
Some pieces of hardware seem to make Windows work harder to recognize them. Note that this is a less common occurrence on Linux-based operating systems.
However, it’s really not the end of the world. In the majority of instances, it’s a harmless error, one that doesn’t even need fixing. Should you want to solve it, you now know how to identify the usual suspects, and what course of action to take.
With that in mind, let us know when you experienced this. Was it with a particular OS, graphics card, or brand of monitors? Did it noticeably affect your viewing experience or was it just an error that triggered an OCD-like fix-it behavior? Let us know in the comments section below.