Re-organized my workspace today and switched the order of the two monitoring screens. After I attached my notebook, running with Linux Mint 17.3, to the docking station, connected to two physical screens, everything looked as it should - at first.
The logon screen appeared and I selected my user and logged myself in. Then both screens went dark. Funny part is when I plugged the screens the old way (switched DVI port 1 with port 2) the screens re-appeared.
When I de-tached the notebook from the docking station and rebooted it, I was able to logon and saw my cinnamon screen. Then I plugged it into the docking station again and now at least the primary screen got enabled - but the right-hand side screen kept dark.
Finally I was able to get both screens working again AND keeping the primary screen as I wanted it by using xrandr.
xrandr without options shows what screens are detected and usable:
Screen 0: minimum 8 x 8, current 3840 x 1200, maximum 32767 x 32767
eDP1 connected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
1920x1080 60.0 + 59.9
1680x1050 60.0 59.9
1360x768 59.8 60.0
800x600 60.3 56.2
DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP1-1 connected primary 1920x1200+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 518mm x 324mm
DP1-2 connected 1920x1200+1920+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 518mm x 324mm
1920x1200 60.0 +
DP1-3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
VIRTUAL1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
eDP1 is the notebook's own screen
DP1-1 is the first DVI port on which I plugged my left screen which I want to be primary. Note the asterisk (*) behind the 60 hertz rate. This means this screen is enabled.
DP1-2 is the second DVI port on which I plugged my right screen. The screen is obviously disabled (missing asterisk).
So now that I knew the "names" of the interfaces, I could tell xrandr which interface to enable or disable and with which hertz rate and resolution etc. This is the command I used:
$ xrandr --output DP1-1 --auto --primary --rotate normal --output DP1-2 --auto --right-of DP1-1 --output eDP1 --off
And the second (right-hand) screen switched on!
Now in order that Linux Mint uses these display settings at the next logon, I opened "Display" and clicked on Apply - followed by "Keep this configuration".
After a reboot (the notebook's lid still closed and plugged into the docking station), both screens were working again as they should.
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