Considering your laptop is over 4 years old, you should have a VGA port on the back of the laptop. All you need to do is use the monitor cable VGS cable and attach this to the back of your laptop. Turn on the power to the monitor. When your laptop turns on you should see the image on the monitor. You'll still see the image on the laptop because it displays on both monitors at the same time.
The only difference now will be in your mouse. You'll need to push this upward so that the mouse pointer will display on the monitor. Afterward, you can use the laptop the same as you did before and just use the monitor for viewing the images on the laptop. Many people will attach a large flat screen monitor to their laptop so they can view movies on a larger screen. This is very command and shouldn't be an issue for you at all.