External monitor not detected

I just used optimus manager with Nvidia driver for Nvidia gpu and Linux driver for intel GPU ... with intel GPU it runs Only the laptop monitor, so I switch to Nvidia GPU and get both monitors “working” or at least on, BUT it’s all messed up, everything is distorted, eventually lags and then freezes, also when using Nvidia GPU with Nvidia driver, both displays are on, BUT the mouse curser is restricted only to the external monitor and everything I try open, opens up on the laptop monitor and is out of reach to try and use.
Should I uninstall optimus manager rather, does prime work better without optimus manager, is there conflict .., is the away to get it back to its original settings which at least worked far better than it is now ... ?
I wish someone in this forum would start giving some real assistance, rthis is my third post and hardly any help, it’s off putting first experience on Linux. I’ve done lots of reading but I’m no techie so most I read very confusing.

Ps ... I’m not sure how much it matters or not, but I tried opening the “x server” a number of times and it keeps giving error message that Nvidia driver/card that support “x” can’t be found

You can use prime or optimus manager, using both doesn't gonna work

Must both be installed though, or must I uninstall prime if I use optimus and visa versa?

It's better if you uninstall one of them

I have a new problem, Chose latest Nvidia driver, in optimus manager, chose start with Nvidia , but when I rebooted, it doesn’t work, just blank ... I’m assuming chosen to run on Nvidia, but driver not compatible. What to do now ... complete reinstall or any other way?

Follow this guide

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The simple answer is, that by default on hybrid GPU laptops Manjaro installs hybrid Intel-Nvidia setup. Alas, the current Nvidia drivers don't support outputting to secondary monitor on hybrid mode. Only Intel and Nvidia mode work with secondary monitors. This is fixed in 450xx driver series where hybrid mode has ability to support multimonitors, but it's not available on Manjaro yet. Luckily it shouldn't be too long to have them on Manjaro as well.

For more details about other driver setups on hybrid GPUs, see my tutorial - link in the post above :slight_smile: .


Hi there , thanks for info ... my laptop is not in great condition, laptop monitor still working but damaged, I’m artist/illustrator so rely on external monitor. Also battery no longer exists so works completely off mains, so conserving power is not my main objective, although it’s still always good, don’t want over heating etc,

I’m new to Linux, tired of windows struggles, so far found Manjaro to be the best Linux for me ... but need external to work at its best.
If I install “free Linux drivers” , external seems to work, but seems to lag on graphics work, so ideally need Nvidia I think.
When,I chose an option to install “non free”, it chose Bumblebee, but I could find a way for it to recognize my external monitor (maybe I missed something or doing something wrong. Ps ... when I chose Nvidia and bumble be 390xx version, my supystem just seemed to crash, so have to stick with 340xx ... saw posts where others also had trouble with 390xx)

What would be my best option so far for using external monitor?
Also, should I still be using the optimus-manager feature and bbs switch if I’m more focused on external monitor use and working off mains only?
PS .. follow up... it’s weird, originally with “Linux video install” the system automatically detected and displayed external monitor. This morning I switched on and now external not detectable. I tried different drivers, nothing detects it now. Getting pretty frustrating.

Sorry my knowledge very limited for now on Linux, I’m not all that technical and programming minded (arty brain lol), I’m kinda shooting in the dark, trying to find my target.

Specs: ( old laptop, legacy GPU) Dell System XPS L502X
Graphics: Device-1: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family
Integrated Graphics vendor: Dell driver: i915
v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 chip ID: 8086:0116
Device-2: NVIDIA GF108M [GeForce GT 540M] driver: N/A bus
ID: 01:00.0 chip ID: 10de:0df4


Darn ... Things just got worse again, I suck at this ...
I was trying t o uninstall the Bumblebee driver but it wouldn’t let me as it said it was depended on CUDA , so I uninstalled Nvidia utilities along with a few other files and I messed up, got this empty space under hardware where the drivers are supposed to show .l. Any ideas, any help to get me set and external monitor working? Please ...


In that case there is no need to use switchable graphic, set Nvidia only mode. Use MHWD to change configuration.

See Manjaro Wiki:


So, uninstall CUDA if you have it. I'm not sure why people install it so often - it's only for developers, for regular users it's a useless package.
Then uninstall current bumblebee setup:

sudo mhwd -r video-hybrid-intel-nvidia-340xx-bumblebee

If it's already uninstalled, it will return error.
Try installing Nvidia only in terminal (forced setup) by:

sudo mhwd -f -i pci video-nvidia-340xx

Then start with this tutorial's point 3 (fix mhwd configuration):

Since you messed up royally ;), you may have some unexpected responses, so in case any troubles, copy the terminal output and post it here.

If you want to know what you did, I try to explain it briefly:

MHWD configuration setups are not drivers per se, but a full package and drivers configuration. You shouldn't manually mess with drivers but use MHWD.
So Manjaro automatically installed for you Intel drivers, Nvidia drivers, Bumblebee and configured everything so it would work. You manually uninstalled Nvidia drivers (nvidia-utility packages ARE THE DRIVERS, or at least the part outside kernel modules, I know the naming is confusing and misleading). What you should have done was simply uninstall CUDA.

Now without Nvidia drivers, your configuration is no longer intel-nvidia-bumblebee, so it is missing from your list.

Hopefully the commands above uninstall the rest of the drivers and install Nvidia ones.

Remember to make a backup before! If something be wrong, you won't have access to graphical session after reboot, only to tty. Use the info on Manjaro wiki to fix it and install video-hybrid-intel-nvidia-340xx-bumblebee setup and then try to setup again manually Nvidia according to the guide above.

Hey ... thanks for the in-depth response ... I managed to get the settings list back by reinstalling something Nvidia to do with “library” driver list ... then I uninstalled Bumblebee after removing Nvidia utility, I did system and app search for CUDA but found nothing ... so when in doubt, sadly google it. That told me it was part of utilities, thus I uninstalled that.

So I managed to first reset default “free Linux” drivers, and boom I had my external monitor back again. BUT ... seems always a but in my world ... but, not long before system freeze. Then I rebooted and managed to install Nvidia only driver, removed optimus manager and installed prime, that seemed to work ...
but , then again a freeze!
Not sure if it’s driver issues or now something missing from system after my playing around. Or if my old laptop is just not happy with Linux :frowning:

I’ve seen that Prime instructional post before, but honestly it’s overwhelming for a newbie like me, will try to wrap head around it, but expect many more crashes, which is unfortunately off putting to new Linux experience. Was hoping for smoother sailing since Windows 7, I need pc and external to work, I’m illustrator.

Just wish there was a simple fix so I can focus on work and not technical pc issues.

Manjaro is a distro for advanced users or newbies who are not afraid to get technical and break their setup many times till they get it right.

For newbies the best distro would be Mint or Ubuntu Mate as far I know.

You basically did the first steps required in this manual if I understood it correctly:

Step 1: remove bumblebee - done

Step 2: install the NVIDIA driver - done

Step 3: break fix mhwd 's configuration - still missing

Step 4: enable nvidia-drm.modeset - still missing

Step 5: Set the output source for your DM. - still missing

and then reboot.

It's very possible that it isn't working for you smoothly because your setup is not complete. Hopefully, when you do all those points, it will start working correctly.
Also, don't be afraid to break your system if you're on early stage. This is how you learn and most of us broke Manjaro few times before we became long time, happy Manjaro users :slight_smile: .

If you managed to fix things so far on your own, you should be able to follow this tutorial. In case any doubts, we're here to help.

Good luck!

P.S. Linux is "do it yourself" kind of system, so it requires some knowledge on your part. If you don't have it, expect you will need some time till you start using it as you hoped. The first stage is hard, confusing and frustrating, but when you overcome obstacles, learn how it works, you will be happy user. It's just takes some time.

Yeah I heard that recently about Manjaro lol ...
I originally chose POP because reviews said it was simple to setup NVIDIA drivers etc, so I chose Nvidia option when downloaded, but once installed it didn’t seem to be able to pick up my external monitor.
Then I tried Mint, it installed, looked ok, but honestly wasn’t very happy with performance and overall.
When I first installed Manjaro I was pretty impressed ... first impressions everything seemed to work and I also loved the UI and features , plus surprisingly I found it used even less resources than both pop and mint.

But now just the external display and freezing issue is killing me.
Problem is I’m freelance illustrator and need to focus on work so extra frustrated I guess ... I’d be up to “breaking” the system if I wasn’t under so much pressure. Been tempted to install Win7 simply cause I know it picks up monitor and works display ... but then the system sucks and uses too much resources.

So I’m going to try a little more with Manjaro... I’m just not sure what I’m doing most the time.

Ps ... I’m trying “step 3” ... already stuck lol

Step 3.1: set up a new Xorg configuration

Firstly, remove /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-mhwd.conf and replace it with:


How do I do that, remove that and replace that?
I tried just going it in the terminal but I got “no such file or directory”
I’m guessing I was supposed to do it another way ...

Ps ... silly question, but isn’t there away JUST to install the default system setup settings to get default drivers and files back without doing a clean install?

Ps ... should this Prime method allow both monitor to work? Currently with Nvidia installed only the external “works” ... however I keep getting the system freezing and have to do hard off and reboot.

Yeas, with Prime external monitor should work. It is possible that with POP OS also installed hybrid mode which doesn't work with additional monitors. Also, there is problem with making external monitors work if the HDMI output is attached directly to Nvidia. There are some ways to make it work, but it needs some device probing and setting proper configs. I don't know it from top of my head, I would have to google it.

You need some basic terminal commands. You can find it by searching for example: linux terminal remove
It will show you rm command, so:

sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-mhwd.conf

If you don't have that file, it will return info "no such file and directory" which is fine, because that was the goal, so more on to the next step.

To create any file in any location in terminal, just open a text file in desired place with nano in terminal:

sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/optimus.conf

It will open this file and you will have to paste there:

Section "Module"
    Load "modesetting"

Section "Device"
    Identifier "nvidia"
    Driver "nvidia"
    BusID "PCI:1:0:0"
    Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration"

Then you hit ctrl+o to save the file and ctrl+x to exit of nano.

Note, that in the tutorial it is said that the BusID value works for most, but in some cases it will need different one and that can be found by using command:

lspci | grep -E "VGA|3D"

With app configs it's easy, just delete proper config in user's ~/.config directory and the app will restore default config when opened. With drivers, no such luck.

The closest to reset drives is to use MHWD, delete configuration and add new one. Just as it is showed in Manjaro wiki.

If you have further questions, hit it :slight_smile:.

Again thanks for all the info.
I’ll give it a go and see how far I get.

But I’m also getting mixed messages ... do you think the Prime will work with my old graphics card? The only Nvidia driver version that seems to work is 340xx and that eventually seems to freeze the system ... do you think Prime can make 340xx work on an old GPU and importantly be able to use external monitor? (Both would be ideal but external most important)

I'm not sure. You have to give it a try. It would be good to document it somewhere so you could reverse steps just in case. Frankly, I'm not sure what Prime even means, because it is used in so many ways. I assume, that the single GPU setup should work for you, if HDMI output is not attached to Nvidia, and that Prime is this single GPU setup. The confusing part is that it's used (the Prime name) on hybrid setups too, so I'm not sure who really knows how to use the Prime term correctly.

Freezes can be made by incorrect driver configuration, old hardware not coping with the newer software or something completely different. Those things are hard to debug. You may try to watch system managers, see what is happening during a freeze, or go through various logs, checking timestamps where the freeze occurred.

Since you started meddling with your system from the start and did god knows what, it may be possible that you can't fix it and the only way would be to reinstall the system and set your drivers anew but this time using MHWD. But before you do that, experiment and learn.

Hybrid GPU laptops are a pesky case in Linux and can cause a lot of troubles, because the hybrid technology was created for Windows. Only now Nvidia is slowly adding features to work in Linux (hybrid mode), but the technologies they use will be working on the newest hardware. So maybe in years it will work like on Windows, or at least it will be easier to set up. Most old solutions like Bumblebee or nvidia-xrun are hacks that have lot of cons.

Current hybrid setups are still very new things, probably not even a year, so features are missing, like multimonitor setup. 450xx drivers should fix that but for you, it wouldn't make any difference, your GPU is too old.

In your case, I would try to lear to set dual boot. Win7 with Manjaro. So you could use Win7 for work and experiment, learn on Manjaro, reinstalling it, playing with it, etc. If you knew that you have a safe haven in form of Windows installation, you would be more playful and relaxed with Linux. This would create better conditions to learn. Then, when your Linux partition would be stable and working as you want, you could erase Windows and expand your Linux space. Unfortunately, for a comfortable experience, you would have to have at least a year, because there is so much to learn.

Now when you are short of time and things aren't working as you hoped, it's too frustrating. To many new things are required. Even if everything had worked it would be challenging process, but when you are short of time, it's a hardcore experience. On the other hand, if you survive that and find some viable solution, you will be hooked. Defeating such hardships creates a huge deal of accomplishment, but then again, you need to have it working ASAP.

Even dual booting is a challenge and many people got it wrong. Installing Windows is a timely process and if you screw something, reinstalling it answer is also super time-consuming. So it begs the question - what will be faster? But you can't know...

P.S. At least you know that Linux communities are active, even more than on Windows.

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