Multi-monitor - When using two displays with different vertical resolution, icons get lost on the shorter display

Bug #360970 reported by Fuchur on 2009-04-14
This bug affects 61 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
nautilus (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

On a Multi-Monitor setup, where the extended desktop is non-rectangular in shape (ie. the displays are of a different resolution, and their top/bottom/left/right edges are not aligned), desktop icons are placed in non-accessible areas when arranged using the menu option 'View-Organise Desktop by Name' from the Desktop.

See the attached image. The top three desktop items are not accessible, and can only be seen in the Workspace Switcher.

Please also refer to the 'Non-Rectangular Extended Desktops' section of the Multi-Monitor spec:


[Test Case]
1. Set up two monitors side by side
2. Set left monitor to a smaller vertical resolution than the right monitor
3. for i in $(seq 1 50) ; do touch file-${i} ; done
4. Right click on desktop to bring up context menu, then 'Organize Desktop by Name'
5. Should be: All icons from file-1 to file-50 (or as many fit on the screen) should be visible
     Is: Icons for files at the top and/or bottom of the arranged columns are not visible on any display
6. xrandr --output LVDS1 --off
7. Verify icons are arranged properly on the external monitor
8. Set up monitors one over the other
9. Verify icons are displayed in long columns spanning both displays with all icons shown

Fuchur (fuchur) wrote :
affects: ubuntu → gnome-control-center (Ubuntu)
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. Please answer these questions:

 * Is this reproducible?
 * If so, what specific steps should we take to recreate this bug?

 This will help us to find and resolve the problem.

Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs)
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Incomplete
Fuchur (fuchur) wrote :

 * Is this reproducible?

1 I think it will be. Delete the file that is written to your config when you do a dual screen for the first time (Donot know location from heart.)
2 Place an Icon under the start button
2 Connect second monitor
3 set the settings off the monitor to look like the file in my first post. So not aligned and new monitor on the left side!
4 login again...
5 Icons will be in the invisable top left corner....

 * If so, what specific steps should we take to recreate this bug?
Personally the problem is not only the icons...
The mouse can still go into that area...
So Ubuntu sees the black bits from picture attached in first post as desktop-space while this is not.

Hope this helps!

Ta Frank

Adrian Sud (pigsflew) wrote :

I think I can clarify. I am also having this issue on Jaunty, however I will note that I am using nvidia as my driver, and therefore twinview. This means that this could be "valid" behavior by nautilus, given that twinview (I assume) emulates one big monitor, however since it looks like Compiz/Metacity are correctly applying edge-snapping rules and window spawning locations, it may not be.

Effectively, if one has two screens that are not the same size, the additional area of the virtual screen that is not displayed by the physical monitors is still reachable with pointing devices, and nautilus still allows icons to appear there.

This is only a minor problem unless the Primary monitor's top edge is "below" the secondary's top edge. This configuration creates an area above the primary monitor where icons of files saved to $HOME/Desktop are likely to appear, even though they cannot be seen.

I am not certain this bug is classified correctly, however. I think more than likely it should be applied to Nautilus, and could probably even be listed as just a feature request if it only effects proprietary driver users.

If anyone can confirm this happens on non-ATI or NVidia proprietary drivers, i think that will help more.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

The issue is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug the to the people writting the software (

Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → New
Adrian Sud (pigsflew) wrote :

I created a bug upstream:

Thanks Sebastien, you can probably close this.

affects: gnome-control-center (Ubuntu) → nautilus (Ubuntu)
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
Changed in nautilus:
status: Unknown → New

Upstream bug has been marked as duplicate of bug

Changed in nautilus:
status: New → Unknown
Changed in nautilus:
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Changed in nautilus:
importance: Unknown → Medium
Georges Varouchas (gectesting) wrote :

bug still present in natty.
Any news ?

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

bug #889466 has detailed steps to trigger the bug, still there on precise

description: updated
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
assignee: Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs) → nobody
summary: - Configure display settings - Icons off screen! 9.04db
+ When using two displays with different vertical resolution, icons get
+ lost on the shorter display
John Lea (johnlea) on 2012-02-10
description: updated
Changed in ayatana-design:
assignee: nobody → Stewart Wilson (stewartw)
status: New → Triaged
importance: Undecided → High
tags: added: udp
summary: - When using two displays with different vertical resolution, icons get
- lost on the shorter display
+ Multi-monitor - When using two displays with different vertical
+ resolution, icons get lost on the shorter display
tags: added: multimonitor
Changed in unity:
milestone: none → backlog
status: New → Confirmed

I'm using 12.04 beta 2.

When I right click on the unity desktop, and then click "Organize Desktop by Name", it places the highest icon too high on my laptop's monitor; it places it underneath the top bar of the unity desktop. Yes, I do have a 2nd monitor hooked up that has a higher resolution than my laptop's.

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Marking as Invalid in Unity. This is a Nautilus bug, as shown by the upstream link.

Changed in unity:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Tim Penhey (thumper) on 2012-04-22
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: Triaged → Fix Committed
Bryce Harrington (bryce) on 2012-06-02
tags: added: precise quantal

I am affected by this in Ubuntu 12.04 up to date, using my Samsung N310 netbook (1024×600) and plugin an external monitor every so often (square display). I have to reorganise the icons every time I change the display.

Gavin Hamill (gdh) wrote :

I'm another victim of this bug - my laptop screen is 1024x768 and I have an external 1280x1024 screen connected. The laptop is always the 'Unity' desktop and the icons do have a habit of disappearing into the non-visible part.

Frustratingly, the mouse does not go into the non-visible part, so I have to 'Select All' and drag the hidden icons down into the viewable area.

I have only started using 12.04 today; this is certainly a regression from 10.10 and 11.04 (I didn't use 11.10).

Gavin Hamill (gdh) wrote :

Quick Fix: Install gnome-panel and use the Classic / Fallback Desktop rather than Unity. - if gnome-panel is active on the smaller screen, that's enough for Nautilus to respect the non-visible areas.

Cas (calumlind) wrote :

This is still an issue in Precise with icons being created in the dead-area and as Gavin found because the mouse issue was fixed it is impossible to rescue the icons without selecting them all and messing up entire icon layout on desktop so this bug is now even more annoying.

John Lea (johnlea) on 2012-08-22
Changed in unity:
importance: Undecided → High
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
importance: Low → High
Changed in ayatana-design:
assignee: Stewart Wilson (stewartw) → John Lea (johnlea)
Stephen M. Webb (bregma) on 2013-08-09
Changed in unity:
importance: High → Undecided
milestone: backlog → none
Changed in ayatana-design:
assignee: John Lea (johnlea) → (miadawn79)
Changed in unity:
assignee: nobody → (miadawn79)
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → (miadawn79)
Changed in ayatana-design:
assignee: (miadawn79) → nobody
Changed in unity:
assignee: (miadawn79) → nobody
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
assignee: (miadawn79) → nobody
tags: added: trusty
freebullets (freebullets-10) wrote :

Pinging. Any progress? Doesn't seem like it'd be too hard to fix. I have programming experience, but no experience contributing to open source. If someone were to guide me to the relevent code and through the process, I may be able to poke at it.

I have a similar problem. My display arrangement is as shown in the attached image. Since the display on the top is wider, whenever I add enough desktop icons to overflow the top display, the icons are hidden in the second display, since the alignment of the icon column is the top display falls out of the visible area of the bottom display.

I forgot to mention my problem happens in Ubuntu 15.04.

tags: added: vivid
Дима (dimka-karp) wrote :

I've got the same bug on Ubuntu 15.04. I have notebook and lg display. When I set notebook display to be on the left and down of lg display, icons are floating in the "black zone". When I press Win+S I can see them in "out of range" zone.

tags: added: rls-w-incoming
tags: added: rls-x-incoming
removed: rls-w-incoming
Maxim (max-pla3) wrote :

I have the same problem under 14.04 LTS. I created a bug report under:

Didn't know that the bug was already reported.

Vashti Thomas (vashtijoy) wrote :

I also have this problem, on Ubuntu 15.10. I have three monitors, one of which (the primary monitor) is centred above the other two. I'm using the Nvidia proprietary driver.

My desktop icons are being placed in the "dead" space to the left of the topmost monitor.

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