Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently installed Arch Linux, and with that GNOME 3.8.2 + GDM

I have this on a Notebook with an Intel graphics card with the notebook LCD and an external monitor attached via VGA port. I'm using intel driver module i915.

This is the problem I'm having:

  1. I lock the screen, whether through the lock button in the user menu or by pressing ctl+alt+l, the screen blanks and both monitors suspends (like suspending power).
  2. When I try to resume working, moving the mouse or pressing a key, both screens resume power but the login screen is frozen.


  • When frozen, I can switch to another TTY just fine.
  • This only happens when I'm using the dual screen setup, if I only use one screen (doesn't matter if I use the onboard notebook LCD or the attached VGA) everything works fine.
  • By "the login screen is frozen" I mean that the screen shows an incomplete screen (like it crashed before it was able to complete rendering) with a grey area in the bottom of the screen. Also the Mouse will not work. Also note that the screen will go powersaving correctly after 20 secs, and if I move the Mouse or press a key, the screen will wake up but in the same condition.

Here is a screenshot of the screen when in the described state:

Any ideas? Thanks!

share|improve this question
OK, having seen your edit, my answer is irrelevant. Could you post your ~/.xsession-errors file? Also try updating your xorg and anything else that might be relevant. I had a similar problem and it went away after a large update. – terdon May 31 '13 at 2:44
I did a clean boot, logged in, locked the screen, froze as always, and nothing new in ~/.xsession-errors. – sdecima May 31 '13 at 14:06
Also check /var/log/Xorg.0.log and make sure you have an up to date xorg package. – terdon May 31 '13 at 14:11
Nothing either on /var/log/Xorg.0.log when the system freezes. As I said I recently installed this (last weekend) and I pretty much updated all packages daily in search of a solution for this issue. – sdecima May 31 '13 at 14:28
Out of curiosity, do you only get this with VGA screens? When I had the problem I linked to in my previous comment, DisplayPort worked fine, only VGA was screwed up. – terdon May 31 '13 at 14:34

I am not sure what you mean by "the login screen is frozen" but assuming your X session is alive and running, you should be able to fix it with xrandr:

  1. Figure out an xrandr line that correctly sets up your system. For example, I have a VGA screen to the right of my laptop. I get the screens' names by

    $ xrandr | grep -w connected
    VGA-0 connected 1440x900+1600+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 408mm x 255mm
    DP-3 connected 1600x900+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 344mm x 194mm

    So, since I know my VGA screen is to the right of my laptop, I can recreate this layout with

    xrandr --output VGA-0 --mode 1440x900 --primary --right-of DP-3 \
           --output DP-3 --mode 1600x900
  2. Map the xrand command to a keyboard shortcut of your choice and use it to reactivate your screens.

If all is not well with your X session, you can do the same thing by dropping to a tty and running

export DISPLAY=0:0
xrandr --output VGA-0 --mode 1440x900 --primary --right-of DP-3 \
           --output DP-3 --mode 1600x900
share|improve this answer
Thanks @terdon. Unfortunately the xrandr command didn't help; I can't access my X session, and from a TTY I get the error: "Can't open display" (or "Can't open display 0:0"). – sdecima May 31 '13 at 2:12
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I upgraded the system to (the now released) GDM 3.8.3 and xf86-video-intel 2.21.11 and the issue is fixed. I'm assuming there was a bug in older versions of one of those packages that affected my system.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.