Ever since I connected my HDTV to my Ubuntu system, Ubuntu has wanted to use it as the primary display.

I thought I had this fixed up through 11.04, but I do not remember how, and now with 11.10 the login box is showing up on the HDTV again.

This is a problem for me because normally the HDTV is (a) set to a different input source and (b) turned off. Now I have to turn it on and change the input source every time I want to log in or launch an application.

How can I configure 11.10 to use the correct monitor as the primary?

Thank you.

  • 1
    Try turning off the secondary display(HDTV) in "Monitors" application, and turning it back again.
    – Nemo
    Oct 22, 2011 at 17:00

3 Answers 3


First list all displays with:

xrandr --prop

Display names will look like DVI-1, HDMI-0, VGA-1 and so on. Find the display you want to make primary and run the following command:

xrandr --output DVI-1 --primary

Where DVI-1 is the display you chose.


Usually you switch the default display in Ubuntu's own display manager. It goes like this:

Dash display settings

However, depending on your GPU driver you might need to use another application than the display manager instead. Since I have an nVidia Graphics card for instance, the display manager won't work for me. I have to use the NVIDIA X Server Settings manager, shown in the picture below:

Nvida Display Manager


If you have an ATI graphic card, I suggest you to manage primary screen by modifying ~/.config/monitors.xml

enter image description here

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