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How do I get the computer to show desktop files on both monitors when using dual display? I can only see the files on one of the monitors. The other one has a blank desktop.

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Can you clarify what you mean exactly, perhaps with a screenshot of what you want to see? It's not clear from your question what you expect to see on both monitors. –  dobey Jul 6 '12 at 17:43
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Ubuntu Unity has flexible options when user want to use dual monitor, if you want desktop files in both monitors, just search "display" in Dash home and set mirror display like following screenshot:

mirror display - unity

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