[Solved] Can I use an External Monitor with my Laptop?


#1

I searched the hardware topics, but the only discussion I could find involved dual-headed monitors, which is not what I am interested in. Let me briefly describe what I want to do (assume I want to do this for ergonomic reasons):

  • Computer: HP Spectre X360 (i7, 8GB RAM…)
  • Booting Haiku from a 64 GB Lexar USB stick (so like running from an SSD but slower)
  • Boot with lid closed (*)
  • Use my external HDMI monitor (**)

(*) I have to initiate the boot process with the lid open as I need to select booting from the USB stick. As soon as I have selected it, I want to close the lid (happy to close the lid at any stage of boot up).

(**) My computer can only handle an external monitor via the HDMI port (no other monitor ports). Quite happy to set the monitor to a low resolution to accommodate Haiku.

[Edit] 2018-12-11 The answer appears to be no. I cannot use the external monitor with my current hardware configuration. Perhaps, as Haiku evolves, support for external monitors will arrive in a future release.


#2

I am not running on a laptop, and can not speak about having the lid closed and so on, but I can say that my Nvidia 9300 GE is able to boot with TV display only via S-video, as well as display to both TV and VGA at the same time if I so please. Thus far all of this has just worked out of the box for me.


#3

All laptops I know of go to sleep with the lid closed, regardless of OS. You may have to physically hack the switch to do what you’re wanting, unless a BIOS option is available.


#4

The laptop won’t go to sleep if the OS doesn’t know how to sleep. And Haiku doesn’t. This is purely a software thing. The only thing the laptop will do in hardware is shutting down the backlight.

Anyway, the results with external monitor and laptops are quite hardware dependant. On my previous laptop, I could only get the external display to work if using the VESA driver, and booting with a VGA cable plugged. On my new one, it seems that I get an almost working VGA ouput, but the timings are off or a PLL is not running stable because the screen is all blurry, maybe a fix is not too far off (something more on my TODO list…)


#5

Loads of laptops I have owned have had this behaviour, including my current thinkpad P50. If the lid is closed at power on, the external monitor defaults to primary. This is useful, for example, with docking stations.

Though, I think they need to be closed when you press the power button. So either they need a power button that is on the outside when the laptop is closed, or they need a dock with its own power button.


#6

That’s the behaviour I was worried about. A few years ago I had another laptop that required the lid closed on power-up to use the external monitor automatically.

I can power up the laptop with the lid closed and it boots into Linux Mint fine on the external monitor; however, I don’t see any way of having it boot from the USB stick without going through the BIOS/Firmware to choose the boot device. I have played with the boot order in the BIOS, but I do not think that order is being respected — though that was with a USB attached CD/DVD drive and I think the time the drive took to become “ready” meant it got skipped. I’ll play with the BIOS and see what I can do.

The other thing that worries me is, I suspect Haiku needs to be HDMI-aware to drive the monitor — but perhaps when powering up with the lid closed, the firmware takes care of this.


#7

Can’t you select the boot device using an external keyboard? I think my machines that have done this do the full BIOS/POST/boot process on the external monitor so I can do whatever I would with the lid open using a USB (or PS/2) keyboard.


#8

No. There appears to be a safety mechanism to prevent the computer being powered up by accident — the power button will not initiate a power-up sequence when the lid is closed (if the computer is running with the lid closed, it can be used to power-down though).

If I open the lid enough to press the power button and then close it immediately, I can press the key on the keyboard to bring up BIOS, but nothing shows up on the external monitor. When I open the lid, there it is on the computer’s screen.

By the way, this computer has a touch screen and the lid can be opened a full 360 degrees to make it like a tablet (hence the “X360” in the name of the computer). It has a volume up/down key on one edge (to support tablet mode). …any way, it differs in some respects from a plain laptop/notebook computer.


#9

Then I guess it is up to the OS to notice that the lid is closed and do hand-off to the external monitor instead of just using the default… and it appears that haiku doesn’t support it at present :frowning:

The only advice I can give is to raise it as an improvement ticket on trac https://dev.haiku-os.org/

EDIT: Or follow @PulkoMandy’s suggestion and try using the vesa graphics driver, perhaps it will work for you. This means, select the “Use fail-safe graphics driver” from the boot menu, see here: https://www.haiku-os.org/docs/userguide/en/bootloader.html


#10

Reading @bullfrog more carefully, that’s the other thing to look out for, sometimes you can change the default display in the BIOS.


#11

Checked. Nothing in the BIOS about the display.

The only thing that I do not like about this computer (I chose it carefully), is that the “Boot order” appears to be a misnomer. I had assumed the BIOS/Firmware would check devices in the order they were listed and boot from the first one that would work. Instead there is a little triangle against one of the options (I should have written down the exact wording, but it is something like “Boot OS”), and regardless of how I reorder the devices and which devices I have plugged in, the computer will always boot from the internal SSD. To boot from another device I always have to trap into the BIOS/Firmware menu and select to boot from the desired device.

There doesn’t appear to be a way to move that little triangle against another device. Presumably it has some meaning, but it is not clear what that is (there is nothing in the help text that explains it :frowning: ).


#12

I do not have the option of using a VGA cable. The only display port is HDMI.


#13

I tried the fail-safe graphics mode (VESA) but it made no difference, when I opened the lid (eventually), Haiku had used the computer’s screen.