I have a question regarding setup of xrandr with multiple monitors. I'm trying to get my new external monitor to work with my laptop.

When I type the commands to use the external monitor to the left of my laptop, the external monitor comes up, but only with a static screen shot from the moment the command was run.

I can move the mouse over the second screen but can't change workspace or run applications on the second monitor. I'm running i3 on an installation of Linux Mint 20.3.

I just got the monitor and i'm new to multi monitor setups. If anyone could help, providing they understand this message, that would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

1 Answer 1


Does this only appear in i3 or does the same happen with the DE. I assume you need to tell your WM to use the external monitor. This 'screenshot' effect you describe most likely happens because there is no software telling the screen what to display. Also, and I do not want to drive you off here, but I am sure the people at the i3 subreddit will be more likely to help you.

  • Yes, even when i go into Xfce it does the same thing. i type xrandr commands at the prompt and everything changes but i still can't use the second screen. Thank you and i will try reddit
    – Quasmiron
    May 20, 2022 at 15:08
  • Ok, can you add what you type in and what 'changes'.
    – bananabook
    May 20, 2022 at 15:12
  • i put in xrandr --output eDP-1 --primary followed bu xrandr --output HDMI-1-1 --auto --left-of eDP-1. The screen will change when i put either left-of or right-of but in both cases i can only use the mouse on the second screen.
    – Quasmiron
    May 20, 2022 at 15:24
  • solved the issue this morning, turned out i was using open source drivers and not the official nvidia driver
    – Quasmiron
    May 21, 2022 at 9:39
  • ah, the classic.
    – bananabook
    May 21, 2022 at 10:06

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