Trouble recognising external monitor

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http://askubuntu.com – I'm a first time Ubuntu user (using Ocelot) and know very little about computers. My laptop screen is broken and I'm trying to connect to an external monitor through a VGA cable but I can't get the system to recognise the new monitor. I've tried using different drivers and settings in NVIDIA, the function key, as well as entering xrandr --output VGA1 --auto into the terminal. It just says output VGA not found but it recognises there's a monitor in NVIDIA. I know it is possible to do since my friend who put this OS on my computer did it last night, but we can't do it again after restarting the (HowTos)