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I have a Dell Precision 390 desktop. I just did a clean install of Ubuntu 12.04, ran all of the updates (~150), and updated the NVIDIA drivers. Then I restarted. My second monitor was not working before or after any of the updates. I'm a huge beginner with Linux, so bear with me. Can anyone help with this?

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If it worked, then stop working after updates, then this question should instead be filed as a bug report, and as such is off-topic, thanks! Instructions on filing a bug report are here. – Jjed May 24 '12 at 18:50

I had a same problem on one computer.. after some time of trying to solve problem I decided to return to native driver and then everything works fine - Deactivate Nvidia driver and native driver will be activated, then go to monitor preferences and setup dual monitor. If you realy need 3D try with different conigurations.

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If you are using the Nvidia driver, start Nvidia-settings in the dash and you will be able to activate the monitor by clicking on the second screen and selecting Twinview. – Mordoc May 24 '12 at 19:03
Twinview is useless for most of users including me... it is better to have 2D on two different screens than 3D on twinview... – linomans May 24 '12 at 22:32
@linomans: Is there a reason for that? I just enabled TwinView and it works perfectly fine. – fresskoma Aug 2 '12 at 12:49

Search for NVIDIA X server application on Ubuntu 12.04, and click on the application. Choose 'X Server Display Configuration' on left side. With installed NVIDIA driver, you have to setup the dual display at there.

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I had the same problem and managed to solve it simply by changing drivers to the post-release updates version.

  • When I used the native drivers, certain games did not work.
  • When I used the recommended drivers multiple displays did not work.
  • When I used the post release updates both games and multiple displays worked.

Perhaps the post-release updates were not available at the time you asked this quetion...

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