KDE Plasma, NVIDIA Prime and External Monitor problems

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I’ve been using KDE plasma for many years on different machines and for the most part, I have been happy with the experience. But. Yes there is a but. But when it comes to using a laptop that is Intel/Nvidia (Optimus) it starts becoming more of an issue. This is not a tutorial on how to get NVIDIA and prime drivers etc all working there are many of those out there. This is to explain the issues I’ve had with plasmashell crashing when using an external monitor.

What is plasma?
Plasma is the largest single component of blood and makes up about 55% of total blood volume, that is true, but not that plasma we are talking about here 😉


The plasma we are talking about is KDE Plasma. It is a Desktop Environment typically used on Linux based operating systems.

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Now the problem that many people have been facing is one of using an external screen and missing background and taskbars! This was getting incredibly frustrating so I decided to do a little troubleshooting, after many days I came to the same conclusion at others, its just a mess and there is no easy official solution until the KDE guys fix it (and they are in no rush it seems).

So the only solution I could come up with was this:

I am using Kubuntu so on each reboot I had to type:

kquitapp5 plasmashell && kstart5 plasmashell &

This got rid of my blank desktop and brought back the wallpapers and taskbar. But I did not want to have to do this every time I booted when using 2 screens. So to automate this is someway for me I did the following.

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create a .desktop file
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Content of the .desktop file

Save that file using Ctrl + X.

and type in reboot to the terminal.

Now upon reboot, where you were getting the black screen and missing taskbar, it will now automatically kill the frozen/crashed session and restart it with a new clean working one.

Not sure why KDE can’t resolve this issue or create a workaround such as above out of the box!

Anyway, I hope that this helped you in some way. Get in touch with me if you have any questions.