I have a laptop that's normally docked to a large monitor. When docked, I want to use the large monitor as the primary display, with the laptop screen as a secondary display off to the right. When undocked, the laptop screen is the only display.

XFCE doesn't seem to have that kind of multi-monitor support built in. I found ARandR, which let me set up my monitors the way I want. I can use ARandR to save profiles for docked and undocked configurations (which are really just shell scripts that invoke xrandr).

But how do I get those profiles to apply automatically when the laptop is docked and undocked? Should I try to create a udev rule that detects the docking station? Is there a better way?

  • Haven't tested it yet, but x-on-resize was developed by one of the X developers to do exactly this.
    – Mikel
    Mar 22, 2014 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


One way is to create an udev rule, but as I wanted something more portable, I have this bash script. It relies on inotifywait support, does not have some kind of loops and is considered efficient.


# inspired of:                                                                                            
#   http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/4489/a-tool-for-automatically-applying-randr-configuration-   when-external-display-is-p                                                                                
#   http://ozlabs.org/~jk/docs/mergefb/                                                                   
#   http://superuser.com/questions/181517/how-to-execute-a-command-whenever-a-file-changes/181543#181543  

export MONITOR2=/sys/class/drm/card0-VGA-1/status                                                         

while inotifywait -e modify,create,delete,open,close,close_write,access $MONITOR2;                        

dmode="$(cat $MONITOR2)"                                                                                  

    if [ "${dmode}" = disconnected ]; then                                                                
         /usr/bin/xrandr --auto                                                                           
         echo "${dmode}"                                                                                  
    elif [ "${dmode}" = connected ];then                                                                  
         /usr/bin/xrandr --output VGA1 --auto --right-of LVDS1                                            
         echo "${dmode}"                                                                                  
    else /usr/bin/xrandr --auto                                                                           
         echo "${dmode}"                                                                                  

Don't forget to make the file executable (chmod +x external-lcd.sh). Then just start it whenever you launch your DE.

I am using this on archlinux so I think it should work. You can change xrandr parameters or swap it to use arandr configurations.

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