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I have Ubuntu 16.04 installed on a laptop with nvidia 770M graphic card, which can support up to three displays (built-in screen and two externals, I can make that work any time in Windows 10). Today I tried to set up a dual screen display, plugging an external HDMI monitor. As expected it was undetected at first, I updated nvidia drivers (to 390), restarted and now the HDMI monitor is detected and functioning.

...But the big problem is that since that, the built-in display is not detected anymore, even when the external monitor is unplugged : xrandr, arandr and nividia-settings only show one HDMI screen connected.

The big issue is that now I can't use my laptop without an external HDMI monitor.

That's not a hardware problem since everything happens on the built-in monitor at the beginning (startup, bios, grub, Ubuntu loading, ...); it only turns ligth-off black on Ubuntu log-in screen.

So my questions are :

  • How can I at least revert everything and make my built-in display work with no external monitors plugged.

  • How could I set up a working dual-screen environment ?

  • Why are multiple screens such a pain in Ubuntu ?

Thanks for any advice =)

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a little update on the situation :

Aux grands maux, les grands remèdes, I decided to reinstall the whole OS as an emergency solution, so I gave a try at Ubuntu 17.10 and it turns out that multiple monitors configuration are smoothly, plug'n'play, painlessly working here, straight out of the box (no drivers twisting or anything) !

And by the way 17.10 looks very nice, I am very happy with it.

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  • Ubuntu 17.10 doesn't use Compiz by default, so that's probably why it's working. Compiz is a little buggy when it comes to getting multiple displays working. Unfortunately, we might loose all the nifty Compiz windows management plugins that make Linux so much more efficient than other OS's. I'm not giving the new Ubuntu a go until 18.04 LTS, and then I'll decide if it's worth sticking with an Ubuntu that is missing all the Compiz efficiency.
    – SunnyDaze
    Feb 28, 2018 at 0:08

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