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I have two displays: 4 desktop spaces (the Wall) having 2 displays each. If I unplug the second monitor, then all windows move quite strange.

I place 8 windows: 1 and 2 on the first desktop space on the left and right screen, 3 and 4 on the second space on the two screens etc.

[1][2] | [3][4] | [5][6] | [7][8]

Note that I have each window MAXIMIZED, otherwise their movements are completely unpredictable (not even in the way I describe below).

I expect the behaviour as in 10.10: if I unplug the second monitor, then each desktop space 'shrinks' and I get windows 1 and 2 on the first desktop, 3 and 4 -- on the second one etc.

[12] | [34] | [56] | [78]

What happens: the first space now have windows 1 and 3, the second one has 2 and 4, etc

[13] | [24] | [57] | [68]

(there is another issue that if you press Alt+Tab after you unplug the monitor you cannot even see all the windows moved to the workspace until you walk around other spaces, but maybe that is another glitch not related)

Now, the more wierd stuff happens when I plug the second monitor back: I get ALL WINDOWS on the first space: some of them on the first display and others on the second display:

[13][245678] | [][] | [][] | [][] or another time: [13468][257] | [][] | [][] | [][]

This worked more intuitively in 10.10. Any way to get it back?

P.S. In CompizConfig>Desktop>Expo>Appearance I have Multi Output Mode = One wall per output. When I changed it to another value -- the same thing happens, but I am not sure Unity uses this parameter at all.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've had the same problem ever since upgrading to 11.10. From my experience and what I've found googling, the regressions were introduced with 11.04 and not significantly improved with 11.10.

I haven't successfully found a solution for 11.10 but I have found documentation indicating that someone at canonical is aware of the existing regressions and have plans to improve behavior for 12.04 (which also implies there is no solution for 11.10):

In particular, see section 2.5 of the google doc (sorry there are no page numbers) which has a nice graphic of what should happen on disconnecting and reconnecting an external display and also section 3.11 which details a use case which perfectly matches mine (and sounds pretty close to yours, although you didn't explicitly mention a laptop).

Of course, a spec doesn't mean it will actually happen but it is promising that the spec has a working solution for every situation that I have encountered mostly targeted for 12.04 (with some more complete aspects targeted for 12.10).

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Wow, this answers my question quite well... even though the answer is not that positive. But I am glad to see that people at Canonical do take it so seriously. Hope they will be able to acomplish this before 12.04 is released. – Vadim Mar 4 '12 at 7:08
By the way, I am using both unity and gnome-shell now, and I really like how gnome-shell works with the two monitors. In fact, you can even set it up so that the second monitor has only one workspace, and it does not change when you switch the workspace on the primary monitor. – Vadim Mar 4 '12 at 7:19

Those are probably regressions introduced in the latest Compiz.

For the Expo plugin, "One big wall" option is globally ignored, it's a known bug.

I am not aware of any bug related to your problem with window placement, however, you can report it as this is clearly an odd behaviour. Also try switching to Classic Desktop (at login screen) to see, whether this is Unity or Compiz related problem.

You can try different settings in CompizConfig>Window management>Window Placement>Multi Output Mode.

If you don't need Unity, you can downgrade to an older version of Compiz which was present in Ubuntu 10.10.

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Thanks for the answer. I like Unity, so I'll keep using it. There are still some... well, a lot of... issues in Unity, but I believe it is moving in the right direction, and those bugs won't scare me off. As for my problem, I can certainly live with it for a while, but will try to file the bug. Thanks again for your comment. – Vadim Jun 11 '11 at 1:14

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