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Thread: How to set you monitor resolution

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down How to set you monitor resolution



    How to Monitor resolution

    Major Edit October 29, 2006: Updated 915 resolution
    Minor Edit December 20, 2006: Added information on xorg-edit

    Thanks to everyone for your patience, feedback, and assistance with this thread.:
    • ebutton
    • guitara
    • k94382
    • Krisz
    • lucis
    • Pablasso
    • pastashop
    • UnknownVariable


    Major Sections:
    1. Introduction.
    2. GUI tool to configure X
    3. Quick fix ?
    4. Collect information on your monitor and video card.
      Google ?
    5. Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
      Note: That is a capital "X" in "X11"
    6. Stuck with a small screen?
      • On laptops
      • Are you stuck with a small screen, that will not enlarge, centered on your screen?
    7. Videocard
      [indent]Nvidia, ATI, Intel[indent]
    8. Further troubleshooting.
    9. Tips & tricks
    10. Referances


    Introduction:
    This post is not intended to be a definitive guide to xorg.conf or monitor resolutions. It is intended to guide new users on a few "easy" fixes for their potential resolution problems and point to further information as needed.


    See References section for more detailed guides and some information for Laptops


    First, just in case, make a back up of you current file:
    Code:
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.org
    .org for origional file. This may be of help in the future as a referance.


    If you ever get a working copy, save a back up:
    Code:
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak
    .bak for backup.

    You can restore from back up at any time with:
    Code:
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.org /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    ===================================


    GUI Tool.

    Thanks to guitara

    Quote Originally Posted by guitara View Post
    you should add info about xorg-edit. a GUI for editing your xorg config. Maybe not newbie friendly, but it does have a modeline generator
    There is a GUI tool called Xorg-Edit

    Found here: Xorg-Edit v06.11.12

    I have not used this but have heard good reviews. You may find it is easier to use this tool.

    Features:
    Because I found it very complex to edit the XServer config file (xorg.conf in Ubuntu) manually to add my monitor refresh rates and some users from the German forum Ubuntuusers.de had the same issues I want to build a GUI so that editing this file becomes much easier.
    Apparently this tool will also calculate modlines as well.


    ===================================


    1. First, try a quick fix. It may not work, but if is does you are done.

    Code:
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg
    • The -phigh option selects the defaults for everything but the screen resolution.
    • To select a resolution, use the arrow keys to move up and down, hit the "Space bar" to select/unselect a resolution.
    • You will recieve a message indication your old file was backed up.
      Note: This often shakes the confidence of "noobs", but it is normal.


    ===================================

    2. If that fails you will need to know the specifications of your monitor and video card.

    It is helpful, critical in fact, if you include this information if you post on the forums.

    Monitor information- Google search your monitor by make and model. You are looking for the technical specifications for the horizontal and vertical refresh rates.

    Videocard information- In a terminal run this command:
    Code:
    lspci | grep VGA
    ===================================

    Manual edit(s) to /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    3a. Monitor section- You need to know the horizontal and vertical refresh rates.

    Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    If you have Gnome running:
    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    If you have no video and are stuck at the CLI:
    Code:
    sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    With nano: Ctrl-X to exit, type Y to save your edit, N to close without changing.

    You are looking for the following sections:

    Monitor:
    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Monitor1"
    VendorName "DEL"
    ModelName "DELL P1110"
    HorizSync 29-121
    VertRefresh 50-180

    EndSection
    Enter you monitors horizontal and vertical refresh rates:
    If you do not know what they are, google search for your monitor.
    I put an entry in my xorg.conf with my monitors web site for reference:
    Code:
    ##############################################################################################
    #
    # DELL P110 = Monitor 1
    #
    # sepcs at http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Dell_DELL_P1110_Tinitron_21_Monitor_walt_91MCW
    #
    ##############################################################################################
    
    Section "Monitor"
    	Identifier	"Monitor1"
    	VendorName	"DEL"
    	ModelName	"DELL P1110"
    	HorizSync	29-121
    	VertRefresh	50-180
    EndSection

    After editing your xorg.conf you need to re-start X:
    Use the three finger salute: Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
    This will bring you to the log-in screen (GDM).

    -----------------------------------------

    3b. Screen section. If this fails, next reduce the color depth:

    Again open xorg.conf with an editor (vi, nano, gedit)

    This time you are looking for the "Screen" section:
    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "twinviewscreen"
    Device "twinview"
    Monitor "Monitor1"

    DefaultDepth 24

    Subsection "Display"
    Depth 8
    Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection
    Subsection "Display"
    Depth 16
    Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection

    Subsection "Display"
    Depth 24
    Modes "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection
    Subsection "Display"
    Depth 32
    Modes "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection
    EndSection
    1. Reduce the DefaultDepth (this is color depth, 16 is more then adequate for most people and 24 may be excessive).

      Change it to 16:
      Code:
      DefaultDepth 16
      
          Subsection "Display"
              Depth       16
              Modes "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
          EndSubsection
    2. Make sure the Subsection "Display" lists your desired resolution.
      On occasion I have "fooled" X into giving me my desired resolution by setting the resolution 1 step higher.

      If you are not sure, you can use "1600x1200" and reduce it later.


    After editing your xorg.conf you need to re-start X:
    Use the three finger salute: Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
    This will bring you to the log-in screen (GDM).

    ===================================

    4. Small screen.
    I recently installed onto a laptop and the display was small, low resolution, and centered on the screen.

    The fix was to edit xorg.conf and add a line:
    Code:
    Option "UseEdidFreqs" "1"
    As well as HorizSync and VertRefresh rates. I obtained these rates from another live CD (in my case Zenwalk Live 3.0).

    The final monitor section looks like this:
    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Generic Monitor"
    HorizSync 31.5 - 50.0
    VertRefresh 40-90
    Option "UseEdidFreqs" "1"
    # Option "DPMS"
    EndSection
    You may also need to update your BIOS.

    ===================================

    5. Videocard.

    UPDATE 2/12/07: You can install EITHER the ATI or Nvidia drivers with the Envy script.

    • Use with the "generic kernel".
    • The envy script will automate updating your drivers and kernel.


    Envy


    • Do you have an ATI card?
      Try the ATI drivers
      ATI How-to

    • Do you have a Nvidia card?
      Try the nVidia drivers
      nVidia How-to

      I prefer method 2 in both the nVidia and ATI how-to's.

      If you get stuck, post on the forums.

      To stop X (you may need to stop X to install the driver):
      Code:
      sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
      To start X:
      Code:
      sudo gdm
    • Do you have an Intel card?

      Intel: There have been numerous posts re: intel drivers. I have limited experience with these but here are some potential solutions I have come across.


    1. Update i810
    1. Personal experience: I have had success with this video card by reducing the Color depth, as above, to 16 and adding a resolution line of 1600x1200, again as above.

      There is a new driver available for the i810 chip. I have not tried this, but this is how to update your driver: (Note: ~ is shorthand for /home/user_name)

      Code:
      mkdir ~/src
      mkdir ~/src/i810
      cd ~/src/i810
      wget http://www.fairlite.demon.co.uk/i810_drv.so
      cd /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
      sudo mv i810_drv.so i810_drv.so.old
      sudo cp ~/src/i810/i810_drv.so .
      Further information: i810_drv.o

      After installing i810_drv.so you need to re-start X:
      Use the three finger salute: Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
      This will bring you to the log-in screen (GDM) or
      Code:
      sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart
      -----------------------------------------

    2. 915Resolution: Intel Video BIOS Hack
      Note: 915resolution replaces 855resolution.

      Use for the following chip sets: Intel 855 / 865 / 915 / 845G / 855G / 865G / 915G / 915GM / and 945G

      There is apparently a problem selection resolutions on the display. This is apparently a problem with the BIOS.

      915resolution is a tool to modify the video BIOS of the 800 and 900 series Intel graphics chipsets. This includes the 845G, 855G, and 865G chipsets, as well as 915G,
      915GM, and 945G chipsets. This modification is necessary to allow the display of certain graphics resolutions for an Xorg or XFree86 graphics server.

      915resolution's modifications of the BIOS are transient. There is no risk of permanent modification of the BIOS. This also means that 915resolution must be run every time the
      computer boots in order for it's changes to take effect.

      915resolution has been reported to work with the following systems. It should, however, work with any system with an Intel 800 or 900 series graphics chipset.
      Further information: 915resolution.


    915resolution is in the Ubuntu repositories.
    Enable Repositories

    Either install it with Synaptic or;
    Code:
    sudo aptitude install 915resolution
    Configuration:

    See also the Unofficial Ubuntu Guide: 915resolution

    1. To list available resolution "modes":
      Code:
      915resolution -l
      Note: That is a small "L" and not the number 1.

    2. To use: If the resolution you desire is not listed you will need to edit one of the existing resolutions.
      For example (using mode 5c (1920x1440):

      Code:
      sudo 915resolution 5c 1280 800 24
      Mode to be changed
      Desired resolution
      Desired color depth

      Thus the Mode "5c" will be changed from the default resolution of 1920x1440 to the desired resolution of 1280x800 and a color depth of 24 bits.

    3. Additional examples:
      sudo 915resolution 3a 1440 900 24
      sudo 915resolution 50 1280 768
    4. After configuring 915resolution and setting your new resolution mode, you need to re-start X:
      Use the three finger salute: Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
      This will bring you to the log-in screen (GDM) or
      Code:
      sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart
    5. If gnome does not start at you new resolution, choose the resolution from the gnome menu.
      From the gnome menu choose "System>Preferences>Screen Resolution" and change to your new resolution.
    6. Your new resolution should work when you reboot as well. If your resolution reverts to an undesired, lower resolution on reboot:

      Code:
      sudo gedit /etc/rc.local
      Add the desired 915resolution {sudo 915resolution 5c 1280 800 24} above the "exit 0" line.

      Save /etc/rc.local and exit gedit.

    7. The last potential tip I am aware of comes form Krisz:
      In my bios for some reason i only had 1Mb set for my video adapter's memory. I changed it to 8Mb and now i can change my screen resolution to higher. Although i still can not go up to 1600x1200 but at least i can use 1280 x 1024 which is the one i wanted to use anyways.


    More Detailed Example

    915resolution README

    ===================================

    Troubble shooting 101:
    1. Confirm your monitor section still has the correct horizontal and vertical refresh rate.
    2. If you installed the ATI or nVidia driver with method 1, try method 2



    5. Is your video card supprted by Ubuntu?

    Supported video cards

    Hardware support

    Laptop support


    6. Is you video card supported by another version of Linux or Unix?


    ===================================

    Tips

    Once you are up and running.....

    1. Change resolution on the fly
    Ctrl-Alt-+ (Control and Alt and the + on the numeric pad) cycles through available resolutions for our monitor.

    2. Change the font resolution in firefox
    Put the mouse in Firefox (so the firefox window is active)
    Ctrl-= (Control and the = key, which I remember because it has a "+" on it)
    Increases font size

    Ctrl-- (Control and the - key, it has a -) reduces fornt size.

    Note: You can use the + and - keys on the numeric pad as well.

    Note: You can also do this with the mouse. Hold down the Ctrl key, scroll the mouse wheel up and down to change font size.

    ===================================

    References:

    Where to go from here: This was intended a a brief how-to. Below are two more detailed explanations for all your resolution needs.

    Change Resolution
    How to fix video resolution

    Change resolution/refresh rate in Xorg

    Dual monitor:
    1. How to Twinview
    2. How to Xinerama
    3. Dual Monitor
    4. Dual Monitor 2


    Laptop external monitor:
    1. How to Laptop external monitor
    2. Laptop external monitor; SAMPLE xorg.conf
    3. Laptop external monitor for presentations


    bodhi.zazen
    Last edited by bodhi.zazen; February 13th, 2007 at 06:50 AM. Reason: Thanks for all the info !
    There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting.
    --Prince Gautama Siddharta

    #ubuntuforums web interface

  2. #2
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    The one part I was interested in this HOWTO was the following:

    If this new resolution fits the bill, you need to make a script to run 855resolution when you boot.
    Code:

    sudo touch /etc/init.d/resolution sudo gedit /etc/init.d/resolution

    Insert the following lines (or what resolution you would like):
    Quote:
    #/bin/sh <-- Shouldn't there be a bang (!) after the initial sharp?
    855resolution 5c 1400 1050
    Save and exit.

    Make it executable:
    Code:

    sudo chmod a+x /etc/init.d/resolution

    Symlink it to /etc/rc2.d/90resolution: <-- Also needs a capital S before "90"
    Code:

    sudo ln -s /etc/rc2.d/S90resolution /etc/init.d/resolution

    This resolution should be good to go on re-boot.
    (Small note for you, I bolded it in the quote.)

    I followed the commands just as written (replacing 915resolution & pixel dimensions instead of 855, as I'm using the 915 version, as well as adding in the sharp to the above file), and upon bootup I still booted into a low-res system, and I have to run my command manually to get my good resolution back. I assume it'd be a good idea to revert the changes we made during this process, to try something else, yes? How would I go about reverting the symlink?

    edit: Without reverting the symlink, I opened up a terminal in my lowres system and performed my normal 915resolution command. After that, I pressed ctrl alt backspace to restart X... And now I have a blank black screen. What went wrong?

    edit 2: I rebooted improperly (bad, I know) but now I have X. I think I'll attempt to remove the symlink and the file before resetting my resolution this time, lol.
    Last edited by UnknownVariable; October 3rd, 2006 at 04:58 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    thanks for the guide! the correct link for the i810 driver is:
    http://www.fairlite.demon.co.uk/i810_drv.so

    *trying the driver right now*

  4. #4
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    i always use
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
    it always works and is easy!

  5. #5
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Aualin View Post
    i always use
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
    it always works and is easy!
    Code:
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg
    Is the same thing. The option -phigh selects the defaults for everything except resolution.
    There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting.
    --Prince Gautama Siddharta

    #ubuntuforums web interface

  6. #6
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    Thanks for these tips!

    I had a strange problem: I set up a KVM switch so I could switch between my Windows box and my Ubuntu box, and all I could get was the 640x480/60Hz option.

    I tried a couple of the things you suggested, but what ended up working was manually entering the vertical and horizontal from my monitor type and then rebooting.

    Once it came back up, it worked.

  7. #7
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    i just solved my problem, it was a little different since it was on a widescreen lcd and with a 865G chipset

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...48#post1465348

    edit: oh yeah.. i didnt tried the i810 driver that you posted
    Last edited by Pablasso; October 15th, 2006 at 09:13 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    Regarding the alternative i810 driver, /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers doesn't exist on my system.

    Edit: I think I found it: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers

    Just in case I'm not the only one...

    Also, if a user pasted the commands into the terminal it wouldn't work as the filename (I presume) is incorrect. The file extension is "so", and the one in the command is "o"


    Code:
    mkdir ~/src/i810
    cd ~/src/i810
    wget http://www.fairlite.demon.co.uk/i810_drv.so
    cd /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/   OR   /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
    sudo mv i810_drv.so i810_drv.so.old
    sudo cp ~/src/i810/i810_drv.so
    And one last thing... what benefits does the new i810 driver have over the default? Thanks!
    Last edited by lucis; October 16th, 2006 at 12:38 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    Quote Originally Posted by bodhi.zazen View Post
    Code:
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg
    Is the same thing. The option -phigh selects the defaults for everything except resolution.

    But, i always use dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg.
    Its easy! And the phigh takes longer time...

  10. #10
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    Re: How to set you monitor resolution

    you should add info about xorg-edit. a GUI for editing your xorg config. Maybe not newbie friendly, but it does have a modeline generator

    http://www.cyskat.de/dee/progxorg.htm

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