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Note: I have already found the solution to my issue. I am posting this question in order to leave information for anyone who may face the same issue that I did. However, I need to wait 8 hours to do so as a new account.


I'm using a Ubuntu 12.10 Live CD (USB) in order to resize some partitions on my laptop.

My laptop is connected to an additional monitor which I have set as a separate screen.

I started the partition process and went to get a snack while I waited for the tasks to finish.

The problem:

When I came back from getting my snack I found that my computer's monitor had been disabled. I shook the mouse expecting it to wake up, however, only my external monitor came to life.

GParted was hidden behind the disabled monitor, and when I attempted to open the displays tab, it too opened inside of the disabled screen.

I opened the console by pressing alt + f6 and attempted to use xrandr commands only to be met with error messages reading "Can't open display".

I did not want to restart as my partition task was still running in the background and disabling it could potentially endanger the data I was transferring.

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I found the solution by opening the workspace switcher and clicking and dragging the windows inside of it. I would self-answer my own question but apparently I need to wait seven hours before I can do so as I am a new account. – Kirk Sep 6 '13 at 10:28
The Solution:

Per chance I found a solution to my problem. I was trying to move the windows from one monitor to the next by blindly fishing for them in the

other window and dragging them back while holding alt. In order to get an idea of the window's position I opened the Workspace Switcher.

One of the times that I opened the Workspace Switcher I inadvertently found that you can click and drag to reorganize windows while still inside

of the workspace overview screen.

This handy little feature that I didn't know about helped me immensely tonight.

I'm posting the solution to my own problem in case someone else happens to follow in my footsteps.


When I was finally able to retrieve the display window from the other screen I set my monitors to mirror in hopes that it would fix the problem.

It did not.

However, when I opened the console by pressing alt + f6 (in order to double check the error message that I received while trying xrandr) and

returned to my desktop with alt + f7, my monitor came back to life.

Changing it back to "extend" instead of "mirror" mode has not caused the error to reoccur.

I have not noticed any error messages or warnings.

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