[ubuntu-uk] Screen resolution problems on dual-monitor setup

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Wed Aug 10 13:22:08 UTC 2011

On 10 August 2011 12:00, James Morrissey <morrissey.james1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I posted this on the forums yesterday, but haven't had much luck. I
> was wondering if anyone here could help.
> I am trying to set up dual monitors in Ubuntu, with the two monitors
> having different resolutions. One monitor is on my laptop and the
> other is an external monitor. I have an ATI Radeon express 200m doing
> the graphics. For the two monitors i would like to have one showing at
> 1280x800 and the other at 1280x1024. At the moment the resolution has
> defaulted to 1024x768.
> I have seen a number of threads detailing this problem, but none seem
> to solve my issue. Here is a run down of how far i have gotten on
> different fronts.
> 1. Talks about editing xorg.conf.
> - The problem here is that i don't seem to have an xorg.conf file in
> /usr/share/X11. When I "locate xorg.conf" in the terminal i get:
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/11-evdev-quirks.conf
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-vmmouse.conf
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf
> /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/51-synaptics-quirks.conf
> /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg-video-nouveau/examples/xorg.conf
> /usr/share/man/man5/xorg.conf.5.gz
> As such i am not sure which file to try and edit.
> 2. Try changing resolution on one of the monitors in
> ~/.config/monitors.xml, which is where i got the unity dock to only
> show on the primary monitor.
> - Here, after i saved the changes to ~/.config/monitors.xml, and
> logged out, i got an error message saying  that the resolution would
> not work as i logged in. Both monitors then came up as they were
> initially. When i looked at ~/.config/monitors.xml, i saw that the
> resolutions had reverted back to what they were originally.
> 3. Talks about editing xrandr, linking to this page
> http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-change...ng-xrandr.html
> - This looks incredibly intimidating and i can't really work out what
> to do in my case. Any advice would be much appreciated.
> 4. I think is a GUI method for the solution offered by 3 (above). This
> involves trying to 'configure display settings' in 'monitor
> preferences'. Here i can change the resolution of each monitor quite
> easily. This works and the resolution is perfect. The problem though
> is once i have set the resolution to what i want for both monitors,
> they begin to behave strangely. Most notable is that when i close
> things they don't disappear off the screen (although they appear to
> have closed), the unity dock smears on the screen when it minimizes
> and mouse pointer labels show up and then don't disappear.
> So i am now stumped. If anyone can tell me either how to sort the
> resolution, interpret the xrandr instructions or fix the screen
> smearing i would be very grateful.
> Thanks,

Here's how to create a "blank" xorg.conf, from my blog, in case that helps:

But first, try the ATI proprietary drivers.

Liam Proven • Info & profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/lproven
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