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I recently re-installed Ubuntu (11.04) was working fine until my laptop screen broke. I assumed it would be a simple task of plugging in an external monitor and everything would be fine, but i cannot use tty7, all others work fine, i can login to it and vim and nano stuff as i would normally, but i am unable to use my desktop. Is there any way of re-configuring x (i assume x is the problem, but i really have no idea) so that it works over HDMI? or even VGA at this point...


Avoided fixing it with a new screen, but would still like to know how it can be done in the future

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Normally you could configure the new monitor with the Displays control panel, but since you can't see the desktop there's a "chicken and egg problem".

The xrandr command can be helpful in this case. It can do whatever the Displays control panel can do and can be run from tty1.

Typically X has started on display :0. You can run ps aux | grep X to check this. Mine starts with /usr/bin/X :0

Enter the command xrandr -d :0 and you should see names and information for both displays.

If the display you need to turn on is VGA-0, for example, you could then try:

xrandr -d :0 --output VGA-0 --auto

You could also set the resolution you need using the same command.

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