Multimonitor: New windows open on the wrong monitor, Place Plugin settings silently ignored

Bug #874146 reported by Felix Albrecht on 2011-10-14
This bug affects 80 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Andrea Azzarone
compiz (Ubuntu)
Andrea Azzarone

Bug Description

I have a dual monitor setup (each side by side), one desktop and a virtual size of 2x5. There are several strange things happening:

When I'm in the top left virtual desktop, focus in the left monitor, and open up evolution it is either displayed in the same virtual desktop but on the other monitor and gets focus or it is displayed on one desktop further to the right, there in the right monitor, and it does not have focus.

This leads to the situation where I am on a specific desktop, launch an application and this application shows up on another desktop without focus and without me knowing where it is. In addition, klicking on the evolution icon in the launcher does _not_ jump to the open window but does nothing at all. After changing the desktop via <Ctrl><Alt>Arrow or invoking <Super_L>S clicking on the icon works as expected.

At least for me, this is a severe restriction to my workflow. I'll be happy to privde any information neede, please feel free to ask!

Related branches

Omer Akram (om26er) on 2011-10-15
tags: added: multimonitor
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
René Fritze (renemilk) wrote :

I can confirm the same unexpected window placement behavior running a dual-monitor xfce session with compiz.

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-10-25
Changed in unity:
status: New → Confirmed
Bryce Harrington (bryce) on 2011-12-16
description: updated
Bryce Harrington (bryce) wrote :

> I'll be happy to privde any information neede, please feel free to ask!

Hi Felix,

In general I also have noticed Unity sometimes places windows unexpectedly when there are multiple monitors configured.

I think the information you could give to help pin this down is to define one or two test cases. First, explain how your monitors are configured (resolution and placement), then from a fresh boot list each step you take and how the windows are placed, and how you think they *should* be placed. You can take screenshots or use `wmctrl -l` to get exact window placements.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete

Hey all,

unfortunately I replaced Oneiric with Natty some weeks ago (because it was my office PC and I really needed things to work). Also I will not be in the office until mid january. If that is not too late for you I will install Oneiric side by side to give you the information you need!

Alex Burdu (alex.burdu) wrote :

This bug also affects me. It's verry annoying when you are with your mouse on a certain monitor and try to open a window and it pops on the monitor.
I looked into compiz windows placement plugin and it is set to:
Placement Mode: Smart
Multi Output Mode: "Use output device with pointer"

An example of this bug would be:
you open gedit on monitor 1. go to Edit->Preferences. The preferences window opens on the second monitor.

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2012-02-01
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Bryce Harrington (bryce) wrote :

I was not able to reproduce the problem using the steps described in comment #5 on unity 5.2. Tried gedit both maximized and windowed, on each monitor, and preferences would appear on the correct monitor every time.

I did not make any compiz settings changes with regard to window placement, it's just the defaults.

Anyone still seeing this bug? If so, mind elaborating on the steps to reproduce it?

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete

This affects me too. The gedit, edit, preferences from #5 exhibits the symptoms, as does opening Synaptic and reloading sources or making any changes - when the application window is on the left-hand monitor dialogue boxes always appear at the very left of the right-hand monitor. This happens no matter the window placement option selected in CCSM, Place Windows.

Disabling Place Windows lets dialogue boxes appear in the correct position.

    Installed: 1:
    Installed: 5.8.0-0ubuntu2

freelancer (freelancer) wrote :

I still have that problem on ubuntu 11.10 and now in new upgraded 12.04 LTS. Windows placement doesnt work. Of course when I disable place window in ccsm then windows popups correctly but not intelligently arranged on desktop.

That bug is related to

Any chance to repair compiz place windows?

My graphic card is nvidia problem appear with default driver and the same with newest catalyst driver.

walterav (walterav) wrote :

It related to window placement popup/focus is it?

I think you need to have multimonitor setup with atleast two screens having different resolutions to notice this bug. In my case to popup focus or open Windows on the screen that I'm bussy with I need to change some ccsm settings and each window that I want to behave in my favoured way. See settings from this bug fix:

This is not related to different resolutions! I had this problem with two identical monitors running identical resolutions...

freelancer (freelancer) wrote :

As Felix said it is not related to a different resolutions. I have two mulitmonitor workstations one first have diffrent resolutions and notice this bug and on second workstation where resolution are the same have the same problem. Its very annoying where You working on one monitor but window (popup) appears on second monitor.

freelancer (freelancer) wrote :


walterav after today after upgrade system and change:

Overlapping Output handling=Prefer smaller output



affects: unity → compiz-core
affects: unity (Ubuntu) → compiz (Ubuntu)
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
summary: - Unexpected window placement in multimonitor multi virtual desktop
- environment
+ New windows open on the wrong monitor

I see this problem with some applications if I start them using the Unity launcher keyboard shortcut, but they're fine if started using the mouse.

For example, if I use the mouse to start Chrome from the launcher on my RH monitor, then Chrome opens on that monitor. However, if I have the mouse pointer on the RH monitor, and use Super+9 to start Chrome, then Chrome opens on the LH monitor. As I have the launchers set to autohide, I know that chrome is being started by the RH launcher, as that is the one that appears when I press Super.

This behaviour is still there with latest 10.04 updates applied as of about 10 minutes ago.

Nick Payne (nick-payne) wrote :

Sorry, the last para of my previous msg should have said "latest 12.04 updates", not "latest 10.04 updates".

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Hey all, I know this bug affects a lot of people. However please check the settings of the Compiz Place plugin before contributing to the discussion. You can do this by running "ccsm" (from the package: compizconfig-settings-manager) and looking in:
   Window Management > Place Windows
There are a few settings you can tweak there.

I know it won't work for everyone, however some people are likely to find they can fix their problems by changing the settings. One person above even mentioned that he got the behaviour he wanted by disabling "Place Windows" altogether.

Rocko (rockorequin) wrote :

The 'Place Windows' plugin has absolutely no effect on the placement of popup windows, which appear correctly if I open a popup from a window on my top monitor (ie centered over the originating window) but always at the top of my lower monitor if I open a popup from a window in the lower monitor (this includes windows opened by system menu options like 'Shutdown').

eraserix (eraserix) wrote :

Window Management -> Place Window:
What exactly does 'Use active output device' mean? What is an active output device?

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

eraserix: Compiz refers to monitors as "output devices". It means monitor :)

Changed in compiz-core:
milestone: none →
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Changed in compiz:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in compiz:
milestone: none →
Changed in compiz-core:
milestone: → none
cuby (cuby) wrote :

No one will fix this bug?
Can someone post an update on why the resolution is being delayed?

Cuby, There's lots of work to be done. This is not the only bug out there to be worked on. Patience, it will be fixed in due time :)

Changed in compiz:
milestone: →

I don't know if this is related as I am new to Ubuntu, but I had the same problem running Java applications from Eclipse. I switched to Gnome (I was using Unity) and now the problem is solved.

I hope it can help.

Gnome is probably using a different window manager. Gnome Classic (without effects) uses Metacity, Gnome Shell uses Mutter.

oscar (o-lemmer) wrote :

I had the same problem (new windows placing on the wrond display if using multiple displays with Unity in Ubuntu 11.10).

First I installed the Compiz-Settings-manager [sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager].

In the Settings-manger, I checked the "Place Windows"-Plugin. There you will have all possible variations to fill you needs.

BUT, to get it work correctly, I needed to enter in a shell: [export DISPLAY=:0].
And then it works until you reboot. Of course you can launch a script at startup that does this automatically.

Changed in compiz:
milestone: →
Mark Howard (mh-tildemh) wrote :

I've also had this problem - two monitors of equal resolution and the place plugin configuration seemingly ineffective. I think I have a workaround by following comment 10 from bug #930660, specifically:

CCSM>General Options>Display Settings:
Overlapping Output handling=Prefer smaller output

CCSM>Place Windows>General:
Multi output mode=Use output device with pointer

It does appear to be related to compiz resolution handling, but affects situations where the outputs are the same resolution. Some comments indicate that the relative screen locations in the configuration may also affect this issue, in case that helps with the debugging.

A simple test case is to open the print dialog on any application (e.g. gedit) - this used to open on the wrong screen, but is fixed by changing the overlapping output handling.

Workaround doesn't work for me. I have two 1680x1050 monitors (via Nvidia Twinview) and the in the first window placement is functional but in the second, new windows appear in a pile at x:0 and y = to the last y placement on the working monitor. :-/

Changed in compiz:
milestone: →
Gao Shichao (xgdgsc) wrote :

The workaround on #24 works for me in most cases. Except when I open synaptic from the dash, the password prompt appears correctly while the synaptic window appears afterwards always on the smaller monitor. I have a 1920*1080 and a 1280*1024 monitor.

MC Return (mc-return) wrote :


Changed in compiz:
assignee: nobody → MC Return (mc-return)
Changed in compiz-core:
assignee: nobody → MC Return (mc-return)
MC Return (mc-return) on 2012-10-20
Changed in compiz:
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Changed in compiz-core:
status: Confirmed → In Progress
MC Return (mc-return) on 2012-10-20
summary: - New windows open on the wrong monitor
+ New windows open on the wrong monitor, Place Plugin settings silently
+ ignored

The problem here is (once again) that unityshell loads after the place plugin and overrides its settings.

Also the standard setting of the Place plugin is not optimal if multi-monitors are used, because the standard setting for Multi Output Mode is set to "Use active output device", which is better than not working at all, but "Use output device with pointer" as the users attention is usually there.

The fix for this problem makes changes to and, so changes to lp:unity and lp:compiz are involved here.

MC Return (mc-return) wrote :

For all of you, who do not want until the fix is available via update can simply edit the .xml files in /usr/share/compiz, namely unityshell.xml and place.xml.

1. In unityshell.xml (sudo gedit /usr/share/compiz/unityshell.xml) remove the line <plugin>place</plugin> in the <relation type="after"> block.

2. In place.xml (sudo gedit /usr/share/compiz/place.xml) add the line <plugin>unityshell</plugin> in the <relation type="after"> block.

Done :)

Enjoy a working Place plug-in and make sure to adjust the settings to your needs via CCSM->Window Management->Place Windows Plugin (sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager).

MC Return (mc-return) wrote :

Here you can see the fix in action.
Other Place Plugin settings also work now, but this is the preferred behaviour for most multi-display users.

Gao Shichao (xgdgsc) wrote :

After applying the fix in #29 , when I set the CCSM>>General Options>>Display settings to "Smart Mode" , if I click the sound settings from the sound applet on the smaller display, the settings dialog appears still on the larger display. I don't think it's right behavior. Thanks for your effort , though.

MC Return (mc-return) wrote :


1. Please make sure that you have restarted Compiz/Unity before testing the fix.

2. Use the "Place" plugin to adjust place window settings, make sure you use the default settings in General Compiz Options->Display Settings (click on the 3 "x" to reset those).

3. Note that some windows (like media players) save their position on exit, so to make those appear on a new position move them there, before closing. On reopening they will appear on the position they were, when you closed them.

4. The settings dialogue will appear on the screen you've opened it from with my fix applied, but I am too lazy to make another video showing that.

Gao Shichao (xgdgsc) wrote :


I'm quite sure I've restarted my computer.

I find it interesting that after I place the smaller display(1280*1024) left of the larger(1920*1080) in system settings->Display, when I click sound settings, system settings ,etc on the smaller display the window will always show on the larger one.
While if I place the smaller display(1280*1024) right of the larger(1920*1080) , the same settings windows will always open correctly on the current display. I' m using default in General Compiz Options->Display Settings and using "Output device with pointer" in Place windows plugin.

Anyway, using "prefer smaller output" in General Compiz Options->Display Settings works for me very well.

Changed in compiz-core:
status: In Progress → Triaged
assignee: MC Return (mc-return) → nobody
Dmitriy Balakin ( wrote :

I can confirm the behavior described in #31, 33

MC Return (mc-return) on 2012-11-03
summary: - New windows open on the wrong monitor, Place Plugin settings silently
- ignored
+ Multimonitor: New windows open on the wrong monitor, Place Plugin
+ settings silently ignored
Stephen M. Webb (bregma) on 2012-12-06
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → In Progress
assignee: nobody → MC Return (mc-return)
Andrea Azzarone (azzar1) on 2012-12-07
Changed in compiz:
assignee: MC Return (mc-return) → Andrea Azzarone (andyrock)
no longer affects: compiz-core
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
assignee: MC Return (mc-return) → Andrea Azzarone (andyrock)
Andrea Azzarone (azzar1) on 2012-12-10
Changed in compiz:
importance: Undecided → Medium
Changed in compiz:
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Andrea Azzarone (azzar1) on 2012-12-11
Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package compiz - 1:0.9.9~daily13.01.14-0ubuntu1

compiz (1:0.9.9~daily13.01.14-0ubuntu1) raring; urgency=low

  [ sampo555 ]
  * compiz crashed with SIGSEGV in DodgeAnim::applyDodgeTransform() (LP:
  * compiz crashing if window un-/minimize animation is "Random" (LP:

  [ Daniel van Vugt ]
  * Several leaks in new GLProgram from compileProgram() from
    GLScreen::getProgram() from GLWindowAutoProgram::getProgram() (LP:

  [ Sam Spilsbury ]
  * Several leaks in ccsIntegratedSettingListAppend() ... from
    ccsGNOMEIntegrationBackendGetIntegratedSetting() from readSetting
    (gsettings.c:375) (LP: #1097661)

  [ MC Return ]
  * Thumbnail Window Previews: Flickering of background/glow and window
    title text (LP: #1098758)

  [ Automatic PS uploader ]
  * Automatic snapshot from revision 3561
 -- Automatic PS uploader <email address hidden> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 04:03:09 +0000

Changed in compiz (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Changed in compiz:
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Jorge Suárez de Lis (ys) wrote :

Will this fix be backported to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS?

Artur Eshenbrener (strate) wrote :

This fix really needed in 12.04 LTS

Péter Trombitás (trombipeti) wrote :

Will this ever be fixed on 12.04?

Magnus Brink (mangethegamer) wrote :

This bug is still in 14.04

SecretService (moe1234512345) wrote :

I concur, still in 14.04. With two monitors, windows sometimes open on the second even though I do new from a window on the first.

Adis (adis-osmonov) wrote :


I have the same issue

D. Charles Pyle (dcharlespyle) wrote :

Same here, with identical monitors at identical resolutions. The only difference is that one is using a DVI-VGA adapter. I see this whenever I open LibreOffice. The splash screen comes up on the secondary monitor and the application comes up on the primary. Using an ATI Radeon HD 5750. I tried modifying settings in compiz but no effect. Using 14.04 LTS. Same problem as in 12.04 LTS. Other applications will load on the primary but open dialogs on the secondary.

Magnes (magnesus2) wrote :

In Eclipse when I run my app it always runs on the wrong screen...

Ubuntu 14.10 here and I am having this issue.

My laptop screen (which I want to use as primary) is on the right and my external monitor (secondary) on the left.

Some windows (such as Viber and the Skype Login screen and Options) open on the secondary screen for no reason.

I still see this problem with various applications in Ubuntu 16.04.1. It tends to happen more often if my primary display is to the right of the secondary display. For example, laptop to the left, external monitor (made primary) to the right.

I gave up and moved my laptop to the right of the monitor.

Pablo Piaggio (papibe) wrote :

I'm having this issue in 16.04.1 (fully updated).

Laptop with an additional external monitor. Nvidia driver.

Same as described by Dimitrios Matanis (dimitrios-matanis) (#45), and Dan Dascalescu (ddascalescu+launchpad) (#46).

Rafael (rafaweborama) wrote :

I can report the same issue at 16.04. Apps won't open where the mouse pointer is, they tend to open at the screen at the left, even when isn't selected as the main monitor.

Happening at KDE 5.8 with Ubuntu 16.04

Brian Stamper (brianstamper) wrote :

Over seven years since OP, still an issue.

Kubutnu 18.04 Bionic, KDE Plasma 5.12.7.

Very true. :(
Diniz F. Cabreira
Gatonegro desenho

Brian Stamper <email address hidden> escreveu no dia domingo,
24/02/2019 à(s) 04:09:

> Over seven years since OP, still an issue.
> Kubutnu 18.04 Bionic, KDE Plasma 5.12.7.
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to a
> duplicate bug report (951873).
> Title:
> Multimonitor: New windows open on the wrong monitor, Place Plugin
> settings silently ignored
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:

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