I want to connect external monitor to my laptop but I can't manage it properly. My setup is: Arch Linux x64 (xfce) on Dell l702x with Bumblebee and HDMI -> DVI adapter monitor.

I want to have that just as regular dual display, with common mouse pointer and ability to move windows between both screens.

Since HDMI port in my laptop is connected to Nvidia card, I've followed that help file: https://github.com/Bumblebee-Project/Bumblebee/wiki/Multi-monitor-setup but to no avail. I've found way to get something on second screen (so it's definitely working) - I simply need to do echo DISPLAY=:8.0 (that's default virtual port) and since then everything will be started on the external screen BUT not X server, which always starts on my laptop main screen despite of any configuration changes.

I can share cursor thanks to synergy (that works fine) but I can't resize anything on external screen, nor move windows, alt+tab also doesn't work.

All answers I've found are about starting another X server on external display so how that can be done?

Unfortunately DISPLAY=:8.0 startx (or primusrun startx or optirun) just ignores display, it starts on my laptop screen.

I've tested a lot of xorg.conf options (all of them are being unfortunately ignored), one big difference I found is that xrandr shows always only one display, i.e.:

$ DISPLAY=:0.0 xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 8 x 8, current 1920 x 1080, maximum 32767 x 32767
LVDS1 connected 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 382mm x 215mm
   1920x1080     60.01*+  40.01  
   1400x1050     59.98  
   1280x1024     60.02  
   1280x960      60.00  
   1024x768      60.00  
   800x600       60.32    56.25  
   640x480       59.94  
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
VIRTUAL1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)


$ DISPLAY=:8.0 xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 8 x 8, current 1920 x 1200, maximum 16384 x 16384
HDMI-0 connected primary 1920x1200+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 518mm x 324mm
   1920x1200     59.95*+
   1920x1080     60.00  
   1680x1050     59.95  
   1600x1200     60.00  
   1280x1024     60.02  
   1280x960      60.00  
   1024x768      60.00  
   800x600       60.32  
   640x480       59.94  

So basically how can I start X server on external display? Ideally that would work on both screens like any regular setup, but even that would be better than current state.

  • I think you don't want a second xserver. You want one display with two screens. I can tell you how that works in general (and never failed me in the past years), but that would answer a different question.
    – Fabian
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:48
  • Yes, probably that's what I want' I've googled enough for that now, I've also resolved above issue so I will post answer here and another question about turning on external screen and internal laptop display, thanks for looking here.
    – zrl3dx
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


I've resolved that issue, I've put xorg config file into etc/bumblebee/xorg.conf.d/ where I've found some another similar file, that file was parsed because xinit raised appropriate error when I've inserted there syntax error, but somehow settings there were overridden by default config or were just ignored. I've moved my newly created 10-nvidia.conf file to /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d and it started to work.


Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "layout"
    Screen 0 "nvidia" 0 0

Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Driver "nvidia"
    BusID  "PCI:1:0:0"
    Option          "PrimaryMonitor"            "LVDS"
    Option          "UseDisplayDevice"          "LVDS, DFP-0"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Device "nvidia"
    SubSection     "Display"
        Modes      "nvidia-auto-select"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier  "DFP-0"
     Option "Primary" "true" 
   Option      "RightOf"    "LVDS"
  Option "DPMS"

and now X server starts on external monitor. Unfortunately, that wasn't all, xfce session wasn't restored, but that can be resolved by simple xfce4-session - now I had almost fully working regular system on external screen.

Mostly, because as it quickly appeared, GPU acceleration was broken, i.e. Chromium (which I use with GPU acceleration) was starting as big black box. I had to install lib32-nvidia-libgl which was removed when I installed bumblebee so bye bye bumblebee - I had to remove it together with few additional packages installed by it (especially lib32-mesa-libgl which cannot be installed together with nvidia package) and since then everything works fine.

Now I have fully-operational external screen and completely unusable laptop screen where display freezes just after starting X server.

I'll try to test everything again with miniDisplayPort which should be connected to Intel's card integrated in CPU, so then everything should work without Nvidia's GeForce.

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