How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integrated

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How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integrated

Postby NicolasRobidoux on Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:21 pm

I imagine that this is not a Mint/Ubuntu specific issue (most likely, it's an X11 issue), but the chat room reaction this brought up suggest that this is a reasonably common problem. In addition, although I believe that this may have something to do with the fact that I have a Sandy Bridge chip (a new Thinkpad T520i laptop with Intel Integrated Graphics), what follows may help fix issues with other laptop chip/monitor linux glitches.

Linux Mint 12 recognizes my external monitor (a 3 year old Samsung flat screen with more real estate than the laptop's) but does not, out of the box, show a pleasant desktop on it:
  • The panel(s), taksbars, menus and window legends are too thick (although the panels and the desktop at first sight appear to have correct widths).
  • The corresponding fonts are both more jagged and slightly blurrier than they should be. There may be some mild haloing.
  • The Linux Mint wallpaper looks a nudge softer than usual.
  • Switching workplaces, the wallpaper from the left window (sometimes?) invades part of the current window.
  • If I open the laptop lid so that two screens go at once, the monitor only shows the wallpaper
Out of the box, the desktop looks fine on the laptop's screen. So, this is about connecting an external monitor.

There are a number of places where possibly related issues are discussed:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Quirks#Intel_Driver_Quirks
http://www.perpetualpc.net/srtd_resolution.html
http://answerpot.com/showthread.php?2440605-Intel+HD+3000+(Sandy+Bridge)+%2B+xorg%3F%3F%3F
These fixes (?) involve the command line, creating an xorg.conf file or messing with the kernel.

My solution is GUI simple.
Go to Menu -> System Tools -> System Settings -> Displays. (In Linux Mint 11, this tool is found in Menu -> Preferences -> Monitor.) This brings up a GUI. Click Detect Displays if your external monitor is not shown.
You can grab either display with your mouse (it's a rectangle within the virtual desktop shown in the GUI) and move it within the shown virtual desktop . Make sure that you turn "mirror displays" off. The non obvious thing to do is this: Move the external monitor to the left of the laptop screen. Temporarily turning both displays "on" within the GUI may help get things unstuck.
Now, within the GUI, turn the external monitor "on" (if it's not already) and the laptop's screen "off".
Click "Apply" and presto!

Now, if you want to switch back to the laptop screen, just turning it "on" in the GUI, turning the external monitor "off" in the GUI, and clicking "Apply" may lead to a laptop desktop which is misconfigured (even though it was originally fine). Fixing this is easy: Move the laptop screen to the left of the external monitor within the GUI, essentially reversing roles in the earlier recipe.
Last edited by NicolasRobidoux on Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:04 pm, edited 15 times in total.
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Re: fixing external monitor problems

Postby spandey on Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:24 am

Please change the Heading like How to fix external monitor problems.. so that more people can see it.
Linux Mint 13 - Mate 64 Bit
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby NicolasRobidoux on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:06 am

In LM11, I could easily add the Displays configuration tool to the (bottom) panel.
I can't quite get this done in Cinnamon, which does not yet have an as sophisticated mechanism for adding launcher buttons to the bottom panel.
This is the best I can do:
Right click on one of the launchers at the left the bottom panel (the Firefox icon, for example). A menu will pop; choose "Add." This pops yet another menu, into which you can give a name to a launcher as well as enter a command line which will be executed when the launcher button is clicked. Give whatever name you want to the button (Gnome, or Gnome config, for example) and type this in the line reserved for the command:
Code: Select all
gnome-control-center
This allows me to get to the Displays tool without scrolling through menus and with one less click than through the "Menu" button. Of course, it also gets me fast to anything within the Gnome-control-center configures, not just Displays.

No doubt, these instructions will become obsolete as Cinnamon matures.
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby NicolasRobidoux on Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:39 am

Dear Admin: Could you please move this thread to Graphics Cards and Monitors? I should have put it there to start with. Thank you.
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby NicolasRobidoux on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:25 pm

Following http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=89546 I
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-core
which indeed brought an update, but this does not appear to make much difference.
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby NicolasRobidoux on Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:47 pm

I installed jupiter (for the power consumption control, but it also attempts to control screens http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=86813) and, whether or not it's related to that, Ctrl-Alt-F1 -> Ctrl-Alt-F7 (going in and out of the desktop through a terminal console) helped the cinnamon destop look right on the external monitor.
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby NicolasRobidoux on Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:08 pm

Sometimes, opening and closing (sligthly?) the laptop lid helps things.
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby orange_roughy on Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:11 am

The non obvious thing to do is this: Move the external monitor to the left of the laptop screen. Temporarily turning both displays "on" within the GUI may help get things unstuck.

This saved me. Unbeliveable. I consider myself an advanced user and could not find this. How would a regular user ever find it?
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Re: How to fix external monitor issues e.g. w/ Intel Integra

Postby superzotnz on Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:20 am

Great help, thank you, this has been a pain for a while.
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