In Ubuntu 14.04 if I unplug my monitor from HDMI and open my laptop, the built-in LCD doesn't come on. Only after hard rebooting am I able to get back to a state where my laptop screen is the primary monitor.

I tried setting "mirroring" on the Ubuntu display settings. Unfortunately, this had the same effect.

Recently, to solve another issue I created an xorg.conf file that specified which backlight functionality to use:

Section "Device"
        Identifier  "card0"
        Driver      "intel"
        Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
        BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"EndSection

Could adding this file have caused the issue?

Is there a keyboard shortcut or anything I could do to get the main monitor to come back without resorting to hard rebooting the system?

  • This may have fixed it, but I won't be sure. After unplugging, got blank screen. Pressed one of the brightness hotkeys on laptop keyboard (triggering intel_backlight). Screen came on. Unfortunately, now it ALWAYS works so I can't recreate. Maybe one backlight trigger was all it took – Doug T. Nov 4 '14 at 16:37

Try to press Super+P.
That should switch the display mode. Maybe you will need to press it couple of times.

  • I haven't been able to get that to work for Ubuntu. Same with my laptop's projector hot key. – Doug T. Nov 9 '14 at 14:16

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