I have Ubuntu 9.10 set up with multiple monitors. Unfortunately, the way that Ubuntu handles multiple monitors by default in 9.10 is by having a separate desktop displayed on each monitor (it is not possible to drag a window from one monitor to the other). I would like to set it up so that I can move applications from one monitor to the other. Is this possible (does 10.04 support it)?

  • I have this problem too. The only ways my nvidia will do duel monitors is Separate X Screens, One Huge Screen(not technical name), and Mirroring the Primary. One Huge Screen would work but my monitors don't support the same Resolutions. (one is 16:10 the other 16:9) Aug 4, 2010 at 20:29
  • I have the same problem with having different sized monitors :( Aug 4, 2010 at 20:42
  • This pertains to unsupported version of Ubuntu. I am flagging this to be removed.
    – Ringtail
    Feb 28, 2012 at 3:26

2 Answers 2


I have this setting as default. I have two monitors and they make just one desktop. I can move windows from one to another moving then from bottom to top, and I can even manually stretch a window to use both monitors.

I used the monitor app in the preferences menu to set it up. I expect all the cards that support xrandr work the same.

So the answer is usually yes, at least with most cards.

BTW mine is an Intel.

  • Hmm, interesting. You're using Ubuntu 9.10? I'll check out the monitor app (I think I did before, but it's been a while so I can't be sure). Aug 3, 2010 at 17:56
  • If you use ATI or nVidia cards this method will not work. Aug 3, 2010 at 18:00
  • The monitor app can be kind of unintuitive, but it's getting better as the years go by. Make sure you uncheck "Mirror screens", and then you can drag the two screens that are displayed around until you get them configured how you want (above/below, left/right, etc.)
    – mlissner
    Aug 3, 2010 at 20:15
  • Steven: No. I'm using 10.04. Marco: I believe that's not the card manufacturer what matters but the driver. It will probably work with ATI or nVidia cards while using the open source driver. Aug 4, 2010 at 7:21
  • Hmm, I'm using the proprietary drivers. Maybe I should try uninstalling them and see what options I have without them. Aug 4, 2010 at 20:43

If you have a dedicated graphics card you may find that the proprietary drivers make this easier to set up.

Most of the machines I run Ubuntu on (and all the ones with multi-monitor configurations) have nVidia cards in them. I am using nvidia's x server settings (nvidia-settings) to manage the displays. This lets me choose between having separate x servers on each screen (completely independent displays) or 'TwinView' which creates a single desktop across both displays. (this allows dragging between windows, stretching across the whole desktop, etc)

To install the proprietary drivers, you can go to System > Adminstration > Hardware Drivers (as pointed out by @themusicalduck in the comment below).

If, however, you want the latest drivers (which typically offer bugfixes and performance improvements) and don't mind the hassle, you can go here for nvidia or here for ati. Put your card's model in there, choose 32bit / 64bit for your setup and download.

ps. I don't know about the ATI driver, but but the nvidia driver comes as a script to run that will install the driver automatically, compiling the kernel modules as required etc. However, you need to shut down the display before you can update its drivers, which can be scary. Just follow the steps in this guide and it should be fine! ('Logging in as root' means typing sudo su (or prepending sudo to all subsequent commands)

  • The Nvidia drivers are usually also available under System > Adminstration > Hardware Drivers if you don't want to have to go through the complicated install process. Aug 3, 2010 at 22:06
  • Very true, but they do tend to be quite old versions. I should have mentioned that (and will edit) but I always do it this way and I wanted someone in the same situation to stumble across the solution!
    – adamnfish
    Aug 3, 2010 at 22:33
  • I have the proprietary nvidia drivers installed. Are both of your monitors the same resolution? Mine aren't, and I think TwinView requires them both to be the same resolution. Aug 4, 2010 at 20:42
  • No, that certainly isn't a requirement. My work machine and my home machine both have two completely different monitors (wide / square) with TwinView across them. What happens when you try and use TwinView? Have you tried getting the latest version?
    – adamnfish
    Aug 5, 2010 at 8:59

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