I have accidentally set the external, mirrored monitor to a very low resolution. As a result I cannot set it back to a higher resolution, because I cannot get to the "apply" button at the bottom of the monitor settings.

Without having the external monitor connected, the resolution on the laptop is fine, but as soon as I connect the external monitor it defaults back into these low resolution settings in which I cannot change anything.

Is there a way to change this back to normal settings, maybe using the command line?

I'm on ElementaryOS Hera, on a Lenovo X220. Thanks.

1 Answer 1


Thank you for having this question because it allows me to be able to solve problem in command line now, because it already happens to do that with my Dell XPS 13

you can identify the resolutions of your screens with xrandr with the flag q

$ xrandr -q

Exemple with one monitor

Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1920 x 1080, maximum 8192 x 8192
HDMI-1 connected primary 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 521mm x 293mm
   1920x1080     60.00*+  50.00    59.94  
   1920x1080i    60.00    50.00    59.94  
   1680x1050     59.88  
   1280x1024     75.02    60.02  
   1440x900      74.98    59.90  
   1280x960      60.00  
   1152x864      75.00  
   1280x720      60.00    50.00    59.94  
   1024x768      75.03    70.07    60.00  
   832x624       74.55  
   800x600       72.19    75.00    60.32    56.25  
   720x576       50.00  
   720x480       60.00    59.94  
   640x480       75.00    72.81    66.67    60.00    59.94  
   720x400       70.08  
HDMI-2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI-3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

My screen is HDMI-1, if you want set my monitor resolution to 1680x1050 I need do that

$ xrandr --output HDMI-1 --mode 1680x1050

The change will take effect immediately, the screens will become black for a moment.

You can use Tabulation after --output for autocomplete the name of the video output on which you want to do your action

Hope this will help you

  • Thank you for the answer; this works for getting back to a mirrored resolution that works. However, if I now set the settings in the graphical display settings to mirrored (somehow this is now turned off even though the displays are mirrored) and set the resolution, a restart gets the monitors back into their low resolution. Is there a setting that aligns the xandr configuration with the graphical ElementaryOS configuration?
    – Arno M.
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 14:02
  • I did a test by changing after starting xrand to change the file $HOME/.config/monitors.xml but after rebooting Elementary OS does not support the modification. So I invite you to return to Display and changed a parameter then go back to the parameters you want and validate for the configuration to be percistant Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 14:44
  • Once I managed to escape such a situation by pressing the maximize button of the window where the display settings are. Then the window just fit into the small screen and I was able to use the apply button.
    – Bo rislav
    Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 1:14

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