Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I want to connect a second monitor or projector to my computer, I always have to change display settins, like seperate x screens configuration, and save and logout to apply new settings. It is really anoying. For example, if I configure my display settings for only use external monitor and save it and then unplug the external monitor, Ubuntu does not understand that I unpluged it and it is continues to send display to external monitor. So in order to change my display setting I have to plugin external monitor again. Is there a work around for this problem?

share|improve this question
windows doesn't require you to log out to change display settings. – Michael Brown Nov 22 '11 at 19:58
@MikeBrown: That's what he's saying in the question. – Nathan Osman Nov 22 '11 at 19:59
@GeorgeEdison, I know, I was joking around. The question could be interpreted as saying "without logging out like Windows (requires you to do)" – Michael Brown Nov 22 '11 at 20:26

Anything that modifies xorg.conf requires the X server to be restarted before the changes can be applied. This is a limitation of the X server.

However, depending on your video card, you may be able to work around this issue by using one of your video card manufacturer's utilities. Nvidia, for example, ships a GUI configuration tool with its driver that allows you to add, remove, and modify the geometry of displays without restarting the X server (the tool also provides the option of permanently saving the changes to xorg.conf but that's not what you're asking). These tools cannot, however, add or remove X displays since that capability is reserved for the X server itself.

Something to consider down the road: X is eventually being replaced by Wayland which will (hopefully) be much easier to configure than X and offer the ability to add or remove displays while running.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.