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 1440x900+1440+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 474mm x 296mm
1440x900 59.9*+
1680x1050 59.9 +
1400x1050 60.0 +
1280x800 60.0 + 75.0
1152x648 60.0 +
1280x1024 75.0 60.0
1280x960 75.0 60.0
1152x864 75.0 60.0
1280x768 74.9 59.9
1280x720 60.0
1024x768 75.0 60.0
800x600 75.0 60.3
720x480 60.0
640x480 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 1440x900+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 474mm x 296mm
1440x900 59.9*+
1680x1050 60.0 +
1400x1050 60.0
1280x1024 75.0 60.0
1280x960 75.0 60.0
1280x800 75.0 60.0
1152x864 75.0 60.0
1280x768 74.9 59.9
1280x720 60.0
1024x768 75.0 60.0
800x600 75.0 60.3
720x480 60.0
640x480 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 ™

  1. Tim says:

    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.

  2. Martin says:

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

  3. kire says:

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

  4. Karl says:

    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.

  5. Coreigh says:

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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