I have a Ubuntu machine that I use as a Plex and data server. There is no monitor connected to it. This wasn't a problem with Ubuntu 16.04, but now, with 18.04, it is and it shows a black screen whenever I connect using VNC.

I've already created the virtual display using the answer to this question: Add virtual output to Xorg

Create a 20-intel.conf file:

sudo vi /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf

Add the following configuration information into the file:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "intelgpu0"
    Driver "intel"
    Option "VirtualHeads" "2"

This tells the Intel GPU to create 2 virtual displays. You can change the number of VirtualHeads to your needs.

Then I made a shell script (don't forget to set executable) and put that in Startup Applications:

#! /bin/bash
/usr/bin/xrandr -d :0 --output VIRTUAL1 --primary --auto
/usr/bin/xrandr --newmode "1600x900_60.00" 118.25 1600 1696 1856 2112 900$
/usr/bin/xrandr --addmode VIRTUAL1 "1600x900_60.00"

After this, it still shows a black screen when I connect using VNC. BUT, when I run this with SSH:

export DISPLAY=:0

After that, I can see my desktop in VNC... Any ideas on how to fix this? Also, when I see my desktop after all this, the dock is missing and all the icons are in the same spot.


I added /usr/bin/xrandr to the end of the script:

#! /bin/bash

/usr/bin/xrandr -d :0 --output VIRTUAL1 --primary --auto
/usr/bin/xrandr --newmode "1600x900_60.00" 118.25 1600 1696 1856 2112 900$
/usr/bin/xrandr --addmode VIRTUAL1 "1600x900_60.00"

That way, VIRTUAL1 is set as output and connected. At boot, a new mode (found using cvt 1600 900) is being created and appointed to VIRTUAL1.

Only issue with this is: dock is missing at reboot... Haven't solved that yet.

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  • 2
    Add killall -3 gnome-shell at the end to restart GNOME - it brings back the panel. The line --output VIRTUAL1 --primary --auto seems to be not necessary for me, the --newmode "1600x900_60.00" 118.25 1600 1696 1856 2112 900$ gives errors, so I had to regenerate with cvt. Other thing is that the new screens are placed one alongside another by default. – Velkan Nov 26 '18 at 16:12

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