I am having trouble with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and getting my GUI to show after trying to get my dual monitor setup working (worked just fine with one) with AMD R9 270 graphics cards. I am tired of working on it and want to revert to one monitor working.

Is there a way I can revert or reinstall everything but still keep all my files? I don't know very much about Linux and I've tried just about every command out there to fix my dual desktop setup to no avail. Any help would be appreciated.

EDIT: Is there a way someone could take me through the process or at least try and troubleshoot my issues?

I can provide logs (although I don't know how to grab them).

  • I know this will come off as obvious, but can't you just unplug one of your two monitors and be done with it? Or did all of your changes cause your system to become to unstable and you just want to junk it and start over?
    – JNevill
    Sep 9, 2014 at 12:53
  • I've tried that, right now it's unstable and all I want is my old desktop back with one monitor (without junking it because I want to keep all my files)
    – mgil90
    Sep 9, 2014 at 13:03

2 Answers 2


Based on the comments above, it sounds like junking this install and starting fresh is the right approach. In Ubuntu all of your personal files should reside in your home directory: /home/yoususername. Backing that directory up will save 90% of what you need. Make sure you get the whole directly as their may be some hidden configuration files in there you may want to keep. Those will start with a period "." and you can see them on the command line with by `ls -a /home/yourusername/

If you've installed software that you want to take with you to the new installation, simply make a note of it so you can do a sudo apt-get <software1> <software2> when you get the machine back up and running.

If you've made any config changes to that software in /etc/softwarename/someconfigfile.conf, you may want to make quick back up of that as well (like a php.ini file or /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/* if you were running an apache web server, for instance). That being said, it's probably not a great idea to just start blindly copying everything out of /etc/* and then blindly back all that up... just make copies of things you know you changed and then selectively restore them when the machine is back. If you changed nothing, then no reason to copy here.

That should cover like 99% of everything. In some cases, folks install software like Deluge or XBMC that, when installing, may have set up a specific user for the software and may have files hanging out in /home/xbmc/* or /var/deluge and whatnot... you would probably remember if you set up software like this, so if nothing is ringing a bell, then don't worry about it. Plus, you can always set this stuff up again fresh.

  • I didn't want to have to do that, but sounds like I will have to :/ how would I backup the /home folder to a flash drive for example?
    – mgil90
    Sep 9, 2014 at 13:32
  • Well.. you don't necessarily HAVE to do that, but without knowing what commands you fired off, it's impossible to suggest a way to fix it so you are back to one monitor. As for backing up, if you are on the desktop ui, then just stick in your flash drive, navigate to your computer's base directory and then go to /home. There you'll see your user's folder. Just copy and paste that on to your flash drive.
    – JNevill
    Sep 9, 2014 at 13:53
  • wiping the computer sounds a bit extreme to me. You could try to rename your xorg.conf file and just restart the computer. I will post an answer below explaining the basic steps.
    – chriskelly
    Sep 11, 2014 at 12:48

Normally your window configuration is stored in a file called xorg.conf.

You should be able to get your default display settings back by simply moving it out of the way.

I presume you cannot see your screen at all now so this is what you should do:

Clearing xorg settings:

IMPORTANT: You will need to know your username and password.

open a console

  • Open a console by pressing CTRL + ALT + F1.
  • login with your username (press ENTER) then password

check if xorg.conf exists

  • at the prompt ($) type the following to list files in your X11 folder (you will be asked for the same password you used already):

    ls /etc/X11/

  • Check if there is a file called xorg.conf.

if yes, rename it

  • If you see that filename, do the following

    mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.20140911

reboot and check if everything worked.

  • reboot
  • Detach the second monitor cable if it is still attached
  • You should have only one monitor now

Don't worry, even if it does not work, it will not cause any harm to your PC

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