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
There are a number of places where possibly related issues are discussed:
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.