Use Chromecast to share your entire desktop screen [HOWTO]

by: Joe HindyJuly 26, 2013


Chromecast has had one of the most exciting releases a dongle has ever had. People are going 50 miles from their homes to buy it and it really does have the potential to be one of the most useful things you may ever plug into your television. If you don’t know what Chromecast is or what it can do, our own Josh Vergara has a review of the Chromecast for you to watch. It’s well known that the device can stream whatever is happening in a Chrome browser straight to your TV. Did you know that it can also do the entire desktop screen?

Over at Droid-Life they took a look at an experimental feature that shares not just what’s happening in Chrome, but the entire desktop screen. This mirroring feature is, as mentioned, experimental, but they seem to be reporting that it’s working rather well. Want to give it a shot? Here’s how you can do it.

  • Step 1 – You must first own a Chromecast. 
  • Step 2 – Set up your Chromecast as you normally would.
  • Step 3 – Install the Chromecast extension for Chrome.
  • Step 4 – Open the Chromecast extension for Chrome. Then click the drop down arrow.
  • Step 5 – Select the “Cast entire screen (experimental)” option.
  • Step 6 – …
  • Step 7 – Profit!
Chromecast full screen

Image Credit: Droid-Life

Will Chromecast full screen work for me?

Now as we’ve stated several times already, this is an experimental feature so your mileage may vary. That said, this is a pretty awesome little feature and one that we hope Google finalizes. While sharing any browser tab in Chrome is great on its own, sharing whatever is happening on your desktop screen is the holy grail of wireless mirroring from your computer to your TV. Of course, since all the biggest apps we use every day, like Hulu, Netflix, Plex, etc all have web interfaces that we can easily share with the Chrome browser, this feature may not be all that big of a deal.

As always we want to hear what you think. The idea of the Chromecast was to share your Google Chrome tabs with your TV so you can stream stuff like YouTube and Netflix videos. Does this full desktop sharing feature make it even more of a $35 treasure? If you want to talk about it, let us know in the comments.

  • Anthony Vallejo

    pretty useful feature. Couldn’t get audio through it though.

  • Boomski

    Possible loophole to use VLC and stream MKV’s. I’ll have to try it once I get mine.

    • kishke

      You can just right click and movie and use open with chrome….

      • vlcftw

        nope, there are no subs then, which is the reason to use vlc over other alternatives. I just want wireless HDMI to see movies with subs from vlc.

  • MikeT

    Works pretty well, was even able to share full screen apps on my Macbook Pro!

  • TySpace

    Works well for me, as Anthony Vallejo referenced in a previous comment, audio doesn’t work when you are sharing your entire screen, and that causes a slight problem as there is about a second delay between what is being shown on your laptop and the video that is streamed to the Chromecast, so audio, although it is still being played through the laptop and doesn’t sync up.

    Another comment mentioned MKVs, though. I had no problem dragging an MKV into an open Chrome window and having it sync that tab to Chromecast. Worked flawlessly.

  • It works thanks for the tip ! But no audio and it is a bit laggy :(

  • Chimphappyhour

    I don’t have the option to share the entire desktop. Anyone else? Any ideas?

    • Ken Ballard

      I missed it at first, but there is a small arrow when you select the chromecast icon. It’s upper right corner of the menu that asks where you’d like to cast the tab.

    • Thomas Roff

      Yeah me neither. I was able to click on the little arrow and it dropped down and everything, but no option to share entire desktop.

    • Brennan

      Same! Only thing I can assume is maybe the connection isn’t “strong enough”. I use the quotes because my CC only says it has 2 bars of connectivity but it still streams flawlessly.

    • Chromecats!

      I believe there is a maximum screen resolution that the extension will allow. Try reducing your resolution to see if the option shows up in the drop down.

    • Adrian

      Your screen size needs to be smaller than 1920×1080. Otherwise, that option in the dropdown menu is disabled.

  • Jay

    Anyone get audio to play when simply casting a current tab? I’ve tried on a windows 7 PC and a macbook pro. Audio works just fine from netflix and youtube, but not from another website. For example streams video but not audio for me.

    • JM

      I just tried setting this up and have selected to share my computer screen to my TV screen and it says my screen is sharing, but when I look at my TV, all I see is the Chrome cast screen saver “backdrops”. I also tried reducing my pc resolution to 1680×1050 but still nothing displayed on the TV. Any ideas?

  • Pooja Sen

    question:whats that extension name showing page rank 4

  • So this is turning into a clever little wireless HDMI cable. NICE!

  • abazigal

    How quickly does the screen refresh? IE: How close does this come to replicating airplay mirroring capability?

    Say I use this function to mirror my tablet. I write or draw something on an app. How quickly in real life do the words or pictures appear on the TV screen?

  • Ruz

    will this take mobile gaming to next level?

    • Kash Gummaraju


  • John

    I see the option to cast entire screen, but when I select it nothing changes. My resolution is less than 1920×1080

  • Barb

    I currently have 2 computers with Google Cast installed to the Chrome browser, but only one has the choice to Cast entire screen. I checked the extensions and they have the same build number? Any thoughts?

  • Gemini210

    Would be useful if it displayed the mouse cursor and played audio through the stream.

  • Andrew Pennebaker

    What’s the quality of streaming full screen? Which resolutions are supported? What’s the lag like?

  • Goruko

    Is there any way I can screen share monitor 1 and not just monitors 1&2? Without disabling on ofcourse.

  • AJAY

    Will it work with desktop gaming?

  • John

    I’d definitely like it to mirror the entire desktop,, including the cursor, since I have a lot of standalone games I play and it would save me the trouble of hooking up the hdmi cable each time I want to play them (this kind of shows how lazy I am).

  • I’m using Google Cast v13.12.. and it works fine for all my webpages, and wit the experimental feature I get video & audio. There is heavy lag when using the experimental desktop use. I wouldn’t recommend it as an alternative to wireless HDMI (or other wireless video technologies).

  • Michaela

    Hi! I had really high hopes for this working for me… I have the small arrow drop down, share screen, full screen AND audio WORKS but black video square on my tv. I have a Toshiba laptop with an automatic Toshiba DVD player. Any suggestions?

  • Thomas

    How can I get rid of the little overlay with the stop casting button? It shows up when I’m casting the whole screen and in a fullscreen app. It’s annoying.

  • vincentkirkwoodnew

    The following article just aims to provide a step by step guide on how to Chromecast local video from Mac or Windows for easy play on HDTV or TV

    It can help to:

    Stream Charomacast unsupported local video files like MKV, AVI, MP4, Apple ProRes, MOV, FLV, VOB, DAV, MPG, MXF, AVCHD, WTV, WMV, ASF, RMVB from Windows or Mac to Chromecast (Refer to Part 1 and Part 2).
    Stream Charomecast incompatible audio files like FLAC, DTS, AIFF, APE, WAV, WMA, Apple Lossless, M4A, OGG, CAF and etc from computer to Chromecast (Refer to Part 1 and Part 2).
    Stream Charomecast supported video or audio from computer to Chromecast (Only refer to Part 2).

  • The Apple TV device handles desktop display mirroring perfectly IF you’re using a Mac and have OS 10.9 (Mavericks). If you do, it’s really easy. Just connect the display (we use a 32″ Samsung) to the Apple TV via the HDMI ports on the TV and the Apple TV and it works like a charm.

    • zbogen

      Apple TV $99
      Chromecast $35

  • Great post! I’m going to see if this works up in my design studio. I have a SmartTV and a Chromecast. I want to use my DVD playing on my MacBook to play my workout videos. This way I won’t have to buy a seperate DVD player. Hope it works!