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at work I was given a ubuntu laptop with gnome and unity. However I ran in a few issues, for example the fact that I could not get the screen to lock after some time and other stuff.

As I am a XFCE user at home and I remembered it to be more usable for me, I thought to install the xubuntu package on the laptop as well.

However, I usually plug my laptop to a docking station with 1-2 monitors, as well as pick it up and go to a meeting room.

What I noticed, however, with XFCE is that if I remove the laptop from the docking station and I thus go from 2/3 displays to 1, I cannot access the desktop content that was in the larger screens, because, I believe, the system keeps the configuration as before the unplugging, i.e. expects such content, with icons and the windows I am working on, to be in the larger screens that are now unplugged.

This is quite disappointing and crippling.

Is there an easy way, easier than going back to gdm/unity, to fix the problem?

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Right click on desktop and click open terminal, run xrandr command or arandr (gui) to configure monitor settings.

You could write a script wrapping xrandr.

It's strange that your laptop doesn't detect unplugging. Mime does. After unplugging, check xrandr output for what it think is connected, so we know what is having problem detecting unplug, X or wm.

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