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How To Disable Laptop LCD and Use External Monitor in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 6

In this article, we will guide you through the process of disabling your laptop’s LCD and using an external monitor as your primary display in Ubuntu. This can be particularly useful if your laptop’s LCD is damaged or if you simply prefer working on a larger screen.

Quick Answer

To disable the laptop’s LCD and use an external monitor in Ubuntu, open the "System Settings", access the "Displays" settings, uncheck "Mirror displays", select the LCD display, and disable it. If you encounter persistent issues, mark the ~/.config/monitors.xml file as read-only. For Nvidia drivers, open a terminal, run gksu nvidia-settings, access the Display Configuration, detect displays, disable the laptop display, and apply the changes.

Understanding the Display Settings in Ubuntu

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand how Ubuntu handles multiple displays. Ubuntu’s built-in display manager allows you to control how your operating system manages and interacts with different displays. You can access these settings by clicking on the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen and selecting “System Settings”. From there, you can click on “Displays” to access the display settings.

Disabling the Laptop LCD

To disable the laptop’s LCD and use an external monitor as the only output in Ubuntu, follow these steps:

  1. Open the “System Settings”: Click on the gear icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  2. Access the “Displays” settings: In the “System Settings” window, click on “Displays”.
  3. Uncheck “Mirror displays”: Make sure the button next to “Mirror displays” is not clicked. This ensures that the external monitor is not mirroring the laptop’s LCD.
  4. Select the LCD display: From the list of displays, select the one named “Laptop”.
  5. Disable the LCD display: Move the button below the display from “On” to “Off”. This will disable the LCD display.

Dealing with Persistent Issues

If you encounter any issues with the settings not being respected or the internal monitor going back online, you can try marking the ~/.config/monitors.xml file as read-only. This file is responsible for storing the display configuration. To do this, open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo chmod 444 ~/.config/monitors.xml

In this command, sudo is used to run the command as a superuser, chmod changes the permissions of a file, and 444 sets the file to be read-only.

Special Instructions for Nvidia Drivers

If you are using an Nvidia driver, you can disable the laptop’s LCD and use an external monitor as the only output by following these steps:

  1. Open a terminal: You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. Run the Nvidia Settings command: Type gksu nvidia-settings and press Enter. This will open the Nvidia X Server Settings window.
  3. Access the Display Configuration: In the left side menu, select “X Server Display Configuration”.
  4. Detect Displays: Click on “Detect Displays” to detect the displays attached to your laptop.
  5. Disable the Laptop Display: Locate the display that corresponds to the laptop and select the option “Disabled” in the Configuration.
  6. Apply the Changes: Click “Apply” to apply the changes. If you are satisfied with the result, click “Save to X configuration file” to make the changes permanent.

Conclusion

Disabling your laptop’s LCD and using an external monitor as your primary display in Ubuntu can be achieved in a few simple steps. Whether you’re using the built-in display settings or the Nvidia X Server Settings, Ubuntu provides an easy and straightforward way to manage your displays. Remember to always back up your data before making any significant changes to your system settings.

How can I switch back to using my laptop’s LCD after disabling it and using an external monitor?

To switch back to using your laptop’s LCD as the primary display, follow the steps mentioned in the article to access the display settings. Then, enable the LCD display by moving the button below the display from "Off" to "On".

Can I use multiple external monitors with Ubuntu?

Yes, Ubuntu supports multiple external monitors. You can connect multiple monitors to your laptop and configure them in the display settings. Ubuntu provides options to extend the desktop across multiple displays or mirror the same content on multiple displays.

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