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I'm using Ubuntu 11.04 Natty on an HP laptop and I cannot figure out how to get Unity on the external monitor! I have my desk set up with my monitor in front of me, and my laptop working as a secondary about 45 degrees on the left. I've tried a few different suggestions, including trying (and not being able to find) nVidia-Settings. But as I am a relatively new Linux user, I am having a lot of difficulties understanding what I'm being instructed to do.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If your video card is xrand compilant (everything but NVIDIA, IRC), you can use this command:

xrandr --output VGA1 --primary

You will need to open a terminal: click on the dash and write Term. When the terminal, a blank screen with a cursor open, type the above command.

Note that the VGA1 parameter is just a good (I hope) guess. If it didn't work you should type in the terminal


And it will show you a list of the connected monitors and the resolutions that they support. In my laptop:

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 2726 x 768, maximum 8192 x 8192
**LVDS1** connected 1366x768+1360+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 270mm x 150mm
   1366x768       60.0*+
   1360x768       59.8     60.0  
   1024x768       60.0  
   800x600        60.3     56.2  
   640x480        59.9  
**VGA1** connected 1360x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 410mm x 230mm
   1360x768       60.0*+
   1024x768       75.1     70.1     60.0  
   832x624        74.6  
   800x600        72.2     75.0     60.3     56.2  
   640x480        72.8     75.0     66.7     60.0  
   720x400        70.1  
DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

The names between the ** are the screen names. Take note of yours and change VGA1 in the above command for the name that apply to you.

You will need to issue this command just once, it will be remembered between reboots.

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Thank you! The VGA1 worked, thank god, so i didnt have to go and try to find it. thank you alot!! – Riley Sikora Oct 12 '11 at 5:31
This doesn't work if you have Intel graphic card, does anybody know how to make it work on Intel? – Christian Vielma Mar 21 '12 at 14:59
It works for me in an Intel card, and it should as Intel driver works with xrandr. What exact model do you have?. – Javier Rivera Mar 21 '12 at 15:36
  1. Go to monitors application, and disable the monitor you want to be secondary.
  2. The other monitor (external one) should become your primary monitor
  3. Re-enable your laptop screen.

You should be able to do this with the monitors Application, and with the nVidia control app as well.

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This answer worked for me on ubuntu 12.04 – Seth Jul 18 '12 at 15:52

this link should solve your problem:

Basically, it's adjustable through the system settings -> display. set the launcher to be shown only on one monitor, and then it becomes the primary monitor. afterwards, you can show launcher on both monitors without changing the primary monitor.

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