I'm trying to run an external monitor from my HP laptop running 16.04 via HDMI. I have a GTX965M that I'm running the nvidia-375 driver for. This lets me run two monitors but only in mirror mode. If I change to use separate monitors the resolution seems to spread across the total of the two displays and I'm unable to cancel the setting changes as I can only click on the launcher; I have to wait the 30 seconds for revert.

I followed this post from the forums to install a newer version of the drivers as it is faster than going through Software & Updates which seems to take too long.

Here is an image of my desktop after trying to add a second separate monitor:


I'm not sure whether this comes down to the drivers or the system config.

Any help is appreciated

Update: It has randomly started to work and I'm not sure why because I haven't made any changes. I just booted up and plugged in the HDMI. Also, my nvidia-settings doesn't appear correct according to the one of the suggested solutions so I'm not confident that this isn't a temperamental bug.


This shows only one monitor, the external. It doesn't include the laptop's built in. Is this correct?


Further Update: Then the next time I boot up, this time with the HDMI already plugged in it's back to stretching a single 1920x1080 across two 1080p monitors. I think I have got to the route of the problem. I opened up a terminal to get to nvidia-settings and apparently it's not installed.

This is bizarre as it 100% was installed; proven by the image I supplied in this question. I humored this problem and reinstalled and dual monitors is working again! Is this a bug?? I've added a solution myself because this did solve the problem but I don't understand how it can occur.

  • Is there any information available regarding this problem? Is this known to have occurred in 14.04? Dec 4, 2016 at 15:20
  • what was your screen resolution before now ? Dec 24, 2016 at 9:31
  • modify the resolution from the settings so the built display's resolution is ok when you do that please post the result for further help Dec 24, 2016 at 10:04
  • have you tried using Arandr ?
    – Akronix
    Dec 24, 2016 at 17:30
  • Try making setup using gksu nvidia-settings
    – user.dz
    Dec 27, 2016 at 10:33

10 Answers 10


Press Ctrl+Alt+T to go to a terminal and type:


then you'll see something like this screen: nVidia xserver settings

From the left pane,

  • choose X Server Display Configuration
  • click the secondary screen in the dialog window
  • click Configure.
  • Enable TwinView.

If it doesn't work immediately, reboot the computer.

  • 2
    Thanks for your suggestion. My nvidia-settings doesn't look like your image so I wasn't able to locate TwinView. Please see my update in the original post for further information and how the problem has changed slightly. Jan 8, 2017 at 22:54
  • If it's random, try booting with both monitors attached instead of plugging in after boot. If you get two monitors, go to the settings in the and fix them right then and there. ;-)
    – Fabby
    Jan 9, 2017 at 16:42
  • 1
    I've tried that before and it didn't make a difference. Thanks. Jan 10, 2017 at 11:35

I had the same problem and I solved using compizconfig. In General Options → Display Settings disable Detect Outputs and set the outputs format.


  • 1
    Just to clarify this makeshift solution: the extra 1920 that he is adding is the width of his second screen. So for me, with a 2560x1080 screen (left), and a 1920x1080 screen (right) I use the following: 1. 2560x1080+0+0 - 2. 1920x1080+2560+0. Nonetheless it is a very temporary solution so I wouldn't recommend it. Mar 21, 2017 at 18:01

I've got the same problem with a Dell inspiron 7567 with a 1050 gtx, drivers nvidia-375.

The only solution I found out reading your answers is that if you unplug your HDMI, logout, login, plug in the HDMI and switch to extended screen, it will display correctly instead of streching one resolution on dual screen.

It's temporary but at least we can use it.


I tried different options that are mentioned over here and none of them worked for me.

The only thing worked is: On pressing Switch Display key on the laptop, that is available on F4 in HP laptop. It may be different on other vendors.


sudo apt-get purge nvidia-*

The above command uninstalls all previous versions, restart your pc.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa

Above commands adds the repos

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-cache search '^nvidia-[:digit]' --names-only

Take the latest number and install with:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-381

For me 381 was latest.

Posting as it might help somebody.


I've answered a similar post :) (14.04 nvidia dual display (external+laptop) stretched display, offset desktop)

This is because the built in display is connected to intel iGPU. (Source: https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/807239/nvidia-server-setting-utility-doesn-t-see-laptop-screen/)

Which basically result in Nvidia x server has no control over your built in monitor.

To solve this, switch graphic mode from MShybrid to discrete in BIOS setting, which can force the built in monitor to be driven by you discrete GPU, and x server will works correctly to recognize both build in and external display.

Does has a draw back that prime select wont work,thus theres no way to save some battery by swapping to iGPU other then reconfiguration of the BIOS... but well, prime select works poor enough (at least on my end) that i dont even bother anymore....


Keep the mirror display checked. Once the displays are synced, press Ctrl + Tab. This will pop up options and you can find one option for screen extension too. You can navigate through the options by keeping Ctrl pressed and pressing Tab to switch, just like Alt + Tab.


It a bizarre solution to the problem that I was facing but it appears that periodically nvidia-settings becomes uninstalled through no doing of my own.

When the resolution became stretched and the mouse rendered useless I shortcut opened a terminal and input nvidia-settings this informed me that it was not installed (still don't understand this).

I then reinstalled sudo apt install nvidia-settings and everything worked properly again.

If others are in the same situation I was I would definitely check this out as it is easy to fix. I fear this will be a reoccuring issue as this has happened twice before but only now do I understand what was causing it.


I had the same problem and in the end I did

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

and enabled Window Management » Grid. This allows me to use configurable keystrokes to send the windows to the corners of the large single display. Then in certain situations like browsing photos the large single display comes into its own.


Remove your nvidia-375 drivers like so:

sudo apt-get purge nvidia*

Use legacy drivers. nvidia drivers have lots of issues it seems.

If legacy drivers are missing reinstall them like so:

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
  • 1
    Thank you for your answer. You can improve it by listing steps to install "legacy drivers". Dec 27, 2016 at 7:16
  • yeah didn't think about that. ;-) Dec 27, 2016 at 7:24
  • 2
    I've tried various versions of the Nvidia drivers. I'm currently using 367 which is tested and it's still presenting the same issues. Nouveau doesn't seem to be able to produce much more than a distorted output via HDMI on my system. I did mention that I followed a post very similar to this but thanks regardless. Jan 8, 2017 at 22:59

I have same issue with nvidia-375. Upgrade to nvidia-384 just solve the problem.

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