Configure GNOME 3 to support dual / multiple monitors / Fix broken workspaces

Sunday, 22nd September 2013

gnome3 dual 2 monitors not showing right workspace display issue how to fix

If you're using some GNU / Linux distribution with GNOME 3 and you would like to show output of screen in two connected Monitors to the machine you will stumble upon really unusual behavior. For some unknown reason GNOME environment developers make second monitor to keep fixed on on First Workspace, so whether you try changing Desktops to second / third etc. Virtual Desktop you end up with your secondary monitor focused on Workspace 1. Logically the use of Dual monitor configuration is to show all GUI output identically on both monitors so this behavior is "wrong" ….

Fortunately there is setting that control this weird behavior in GNOME through gconf-editor and simply changing that switches monitors to show properly.

To fix it:

Start Run Command or Press Alt + F2 to invoke GNOME Run menu

Navigate to registry path Desktop -> Gnome -> Shell -> Windows and Uncheck selection on workspaces_only_on_primary 


To make new changes take effect its necessary to Log Off or Restart PC.

There is another easier way for command line oriented people to apply changes without using / having installed gconf-editor by issuing:

gsettings set workspaces-only-on-primary false 

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One Response to “Configure GNOME 3 to support dual / multiple monitors / Fix broken workspaces”

  1. kevin says:
    Firefox 45.0 Firefox 45.0 GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/45.0

    Failure! The desktop in the second monitor switches. But it always switches! Gnome devs, figure it out! You broke it now fix it. Who wants both monitors to flip together? I understand the windows can squish across monitors. Wooo, which desk is it on? Oh geeee wiz! OK, keep it with the desktop the center pixel is in or keep it with the left monitor. Or eliminate the bridging across monitors. I don’t care. Each monitor should have a different set of desktops and its own task bar.

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