I have to monitors, one attached to my Nvidia graphics card using HDMI, the other one using VGA (using a DVI-VGA adapter). Most fullscreen games (that even recognizes that there are two monitors) uses the secondary monitor. The primary monitor is correctly set when I check from nvidia-settings, xrandr or KDE system settings.

My current workaround is to simply disable monitor 2 when playing a game but that's not satisfiying. How can I effectively set the primary screen?

  • Does setting the primary with xrandr help?
    – derobert
    Apr 4, 2013 at 21:20
  • xrandr already reports that it is. I guess it gets the info from the same source as the other tools.
    – Nova
    Apr 4, 2013 at 22:15
  • Could this depend on the position of the mouse pointer at the time the application goes fullscreen?
    – peterph
    Apr 5, 2013 at 7:45
  • 2
    Depends on the game and its implementation, I guess. There are other things, like the gnome-panel ... mate-panel these days ... which defines that monitor as primary which is reported first by the graphics board. Stupid and wrong implementation, but true. Maybe your games support some command line arguments for placement and/or monitor selection?
    – Bananguin
    Apr 5, 2013 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


While I haven't been able to actually keep both screens enabled, I can at least map games to the correct screen. What I did was change the 'metamode' line in xorg.conf:

Option         "metamodes" "CRT: 1280x1024 +1920+180, DFP: nvidia-auto-select +0+0; DFP: 1920x1200, CRT: NULL"

I'm not entirely sure what the first part does, it was autogenerated by nvidia-settings. The second part however instructs the driver to realize a request for 1920x1200 resolution -- the native resolution of my primary screen, DFP -- by disabling the secondary one (CRT).

Those games that were well-behaved to begin with never actually changed the resolution to begin with but instead created a full-screen sized borderless window and placed it on the primary screen.

EDIT: This doesn't work as well as I thought, the mode isn't switched back properly later.

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