inside the mind of a linux admin

Unity: Move vertical launcher to another monitor

Those of you making the conversion from gnome to unity in this latest Ubuntu release will notice quite a few changes. When I installed 11.04 on my office workstation (with dual monitors), Unity’s vertical launcher appeared in the middle of the two screens (on the very left of the right hand monitor).

This is probably the worst place I could imagine wanting this handy tool, especially since I like to reserve the entire right monitor for my terminals.

If you’re experiencing a similar problem, here’s how you fix:

By default, the Unity launcher appears on whichever is the “primary” monitor. This varies depending on your configuration, but to put it simply: You want it on your other monitor, regardless of what Ubuntu thinks is your “primary”.

First, type xrandr to get a list of your monitors:

[eriks@jaded: ~]$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 2880 x 900, maximum 2880 x 2880
DFP1 connected 1440×900+1440+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 474mm x 296mm
1440×900 59.9*+
1680×1050 59.9 +
1400×1050 60.0 +
1280×800 60.0 + 75.0
1152×648 60.0 +
1280×1024 75.0 60.0
1280×960 75.0 60.0
1152×864 75.0 60.0
1280×768 74.9 59.9
1280×720 60.0
1024×768 75.0 60.0
800×600 75.0 60.3
720×480 60.0
640×480 75.0 60.0
DFP2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
CRT1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
CRT2 connected 1440×900+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 474mm x 296mm
1440×900 59.9*+
1680×1050 60.0 +
1400×1050 60.0
1280×1024 75.0 60.0
1280×960 75.0 60.0
1280×800 75.0 60.0
1152×864 75.0 60.0
1280×768 74.9 59.9
1280×720 60.0
1024×768 75.0 60.0
800×600 75.0 60.3
720×480 60.0
640×480 75.0 60.0

As you can see, “DFP1” is considered my primary monitor here. Here’s how you tell X11 who’s boss:

[eriks@jaded: ~]$ sudo xrandr –output CRT2 –primary

^ I used CRT2 here because that’s what I consider my primary monitor (on the left), regardless of how they’re connected to the computer. Be sure to substitute CRT2 with whatever xrandr detects your particular hardware as.

And bang, look up. Your launcher should have just relocated to the other screen.

The more you know ™

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5 Comments

  • Tim on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    When I do this, all I get are the usage instructions for xrandr 🙁

    why is this?

    my monitors listed are VGA-0 connected, S-video disconnected, DVI-0 connected. In that order.

  • Martin on Thursday, July 14, 2011

    sudo xrandr –output VGA1 –primary (with double lines)

  • kire on Friday, July 22, 2011

    =]MARKED AS SPAM BY SLIDE2COMMENT[=
    That is correct, wordpress formatting turned it into a single dash.

  • Karl on Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    I have dual monitors set up and my left most monitor is my primary monitor, in both the monitors preference, through the xrandr command and in my ATI catalyst control center. I don’t care where the launcher is because I use the Cairo dock, and my windows all open up in the monitor that I use and have set up as primary but I miss the super-user key as my application launcher, so I would love it if the launcher would come back to my primary monitor. Just to be clear I have an ATI 5450 with my CRT2 set up as my primary monitor in every way except for the launcher location, which is located on my second monitor @ DFP1. Thanks.

  • Coreigh on Thursday, November 17, 2011

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    Will this make the GDM login prompt move to the ‘primary’ also?

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