Enabling Multiple Monitors

I’ve had issues with multiple monitors in the past. I never got used to them, I never really had much luck with them, and my laptop had a bad VGA port with no red til I got it fixed.

I run both Ubuntu and Windows 7, and surprisingly, it was easy to set up multiple monitors in both. I want to take a moment and write-up how I enabled a second monitor in both OSes, mostly for my benefit (so I remember how I did it!). I have an nVidia GeForce G 105M graphics card.

Ubuntu:

  1. Plug in and turn on the external monitor. (Stupid first step, I know…)
  2. Open up the nVidia X-server settings program under System->Administration (I’m assuming the people following this will have already installed the nVidia drivers for their chipset to enable the flashy Compiz graphics. I did.)
  3. Choose X Server Display Configuration.
  4. Enable the second display and move it to wherever you need it to be (left or right of your main display).
  5. Set your laptop screen as the main display (or the other screen; depends on your setup).
  6. Set the Configuration to “TwinView”. This allows the screen to stretch across both monitors, BUT allows you to set a “main” display. In my case, it’s the laptop screen. This will usually require a restart.
  7. Save to your X.conf before exiting.
  8. Reboot; or restart X.
  9. Login.
  10. Go back to the nVidia X Server Settings program, and set the resolution to what you need the second monitor to be. Usually it’ll be auto-detected, but sometimes you need to set it.

Windows:

This is pretty much the same as Ubuntu.

  1. Plug in and turn on the external monitor.
  2. Open up the “Display” menu via “My Computer”.
  3. Enable the external monitor.
  4. Drag the second screen to wherever you need it (in my case, it was to the left).
  5. Set the main display (in my case, the laptop screen).
  6. Hit “Apply”.

Everything should be saved and set up so upon login, you’ll have the second monitor.

It’s actually simpler for Windows, since you don’t need to go into the nVidia settings program.

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