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Thread: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

  1. #1
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    Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    Last Saturday I undertook to install hardware sensor monitors on my family Ubuntu 9.10 machine which, incidentally, is built from legacy hardware (specs: Chaintech 7NJL6 mobo, AMD Sempron 2100+, GeForce 4 MX440 GPU, 512 Mb DDR RAM). I was running the proprietary Nvidia driver and max resolution was 800x600 at 60 Hz (monitor supports up to 1600x1200 at 75 Hz). After successfully getting hardware monitoring running I rebooted to discover the wonder of 640x480 resolution!! I was able to reinstate the high resolution of 800x600 only by returning to the nv driver.

    I tried multiple suggestions of how to edit my xorg.conf file and temporarily enable higher resolutions with xrandr.... all to absolutely no avail (and several instances of console only login). So I continued searching and ran across several entries referring to a GUI from end that could force higher resolutions call displayconfig-gtk.... but alas, the march of progress had obsoleted said config program.

    The workaround: Burn a copy of 8.04 LTS and boot to the live desktop. Right click on the main menu, select "edit menus" and enable the "Screens and Graphics" menu item under . Open Screens and Graphics (Applications>other>screens and graphics). Now click on the model of your monitor and choose the type (in my case I chose Generic Monitor 1600x1200). Choose ok. Choose ok again. At this point it will tell you that the changes won't take effect until you reboot, but as we know that will actually cause you to lose all of your configurations, so don't reboot yet. Copy the xorg.conf file that was just generated for your hardware to a partition on your machine (this file is located in /etc/X11/). Now you may reboot into your harddrive installation of Ubuntu.

    After rebooting open a terminal and backup your current xorg.conf
    Code:
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.working
    Next open a root file browser:
    Alt+f2
    Code:
    gksudo nautilus
    Navigate to /etc/X11/
    Copy the xorg.conf that you generated into the X11 folder as xorg.conf(if you named it something else you have to make sure that it's xorg.conf now)
    reboot

    The configuration file generated for my machine had it startign out in pan mode by enabling 2048x1536 virtually. To change this simply open the xorg.conf file as root (sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf) and change the "virtual" line to your desired resolution, save, and reboot.

    If your machine won't accept the new file, I can help you get back to your original configuration, but I don't know enough about editing an xorg.conf file to repair it.

    To the Devs (if any happen across this thread), I realize that the screens and graphics broke the xorg.conf file occasionally, but so do n00bs trying to manually edit said file. I would request that this option be reincluded to version 10.04, or extensive testing be done on legacy hardware. The attitude of "buy newer hardware" just doesn't wash when Ubuntu, by design, has requirements and cost that make it an otherwise very effective option for legacy hardware.
    Resolution help | Mac4Lin install guide|Fuduntu
    Quote Originally Posted by kamaboko View Post
    A suggestion for you...dump the "us vs. them" attitude ...

  2. #2
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    Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Thumbs down Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    Sounds plausible. Absolutely nothing pisses me off more about Linux than the CONSTANT video problems people experience. I have not upgraded even once in the past 4 years without having some sort of video issue.

  3. #3
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    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    Like I said in my post.... their GUI interface absolutely can't break more config files than n00bs (like me) who can't generate a working config file from scratch to save their own life. Now more than ever I think they need to add this option back... if someone's equipment is auto-detected they'll never even care that it's available (especially if it's hidden by default like 8.04), but for those who desparately need it, we would search it out.

    Let's make this a mini partition. If you've had issues with your video hardware not being configured correctly correctly and could have used the old "Screens and Graphics" to fix this, post up. If there's enough stink, surely they'd put it back in to 10.04... especially since it will be desirable for an LTS to be uber usable to as many as possible.
    Resolution help | Mac4Lin install guide|Fuduntu
    Quote Originally Posted by kamaboko View Post
    A suggestion for you...dump the "us vs. them" attitude ...

  4. #4
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    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    Quote Originally Posted by ST3ALTHPSYCH0 View Post
    Like I said in my post.... their GUI interface absolutely can't break more config files than n00bs (like me) who can't generate a working config file from scratch to save their own life. Now more than ever I think they need to add this option back... if someone's equipment is auto-detected they'll never even care that it's available (especially if it's hidden by default like 8.04), but for those who desparately need it, we would search it out.

    Let's make this a mini partition. If you've had issues with your video hardware not being configured correctly correctly and could have used the old "Screens and Graphics" to fix this, post up. If there's enough stink, surely they'd put it back in to 10.04... especially since it will be desirable for an LTS to be uber usable to as many as possible.
    I'm having HUGE problems with this - just installed ubuntu for the first time (9.10) and can't get to use ,ore than 800x600 on a 1024x768 laptop.

    IT IS SOOO FRUSTRTING

    I have read lots of post, tried a few xrandr commands but still no joy. I don't have an xorg.conf file to edit and i'm not confident in writing my own.

    I've placed posts but had no response - my laptop is not usable so thinking of going back to windows unless someone can help...

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    @ ST3ALTHPSYCH0

    I don't want to raise a big stink or anything - I am very grateful for all ubuntu does, just as I'm sure you are as well. However, I am posting here to add to the thread and say that I am bookmarking this page.

    I have had nothing but trouble with video and audio since I began my Linux quest, and I've tried multiple distros of linux on four different machines. I just think it's worth mentioning.
    Oh, Linux... if only I had known.

  6. #6
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    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    Quote Originally Posted by benjamonk View Post
    I don't have an xorg.conf file to edit and i'm not confident in writing my own.
    That seems odd... I believe you should have one. Especially if you've already done a few xrandr commands. Ubuntu should automatically generate one upon doing so.

    In any case - and I'm sorry if this is a stupid question - but did you try ST3ALTHPSYCH0's fix above? You hadn't mentioned that in your post. I'm actually going to try that one myself. I'm downloading 8.04 as we speak to give it a shot. I thinks it's safe to believe that even if you don't have an xorg.conf file at this point, doing ST3ALTHPSYCH0's fix will create a working one for you. If it doesn't work, you will be no worse for ware, right?

    Don't give up on Linux. We all know what seedy things Microsoft has done in the past and we see their monetary motivation for what it is. There is a fix for your problem, I'm sure of it. In the long run, I think we both know you'll be glad you stuck with us.

    At the very least, dual boot until you're ready to give it the final push. Cheers.
    Oh, Linux... if only I had known.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2009
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    Thornbury, Australia
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    Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    I followed you're lead up until I discovered that Kubuntu 9.10 has no xorg.conf file. Has anyone got a work around for the above distro????

  8. #8
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    Oct 2008
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    It is a very old question for me.

    I'll use the example of the automobile. I always wondered, if there was a steady march of progress; if there was the attitude "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." If there was a steady improvement of the car, why would we scrap something working? Why not just have upgrades that are improvements; each year brought out a car where any bugs were fixed. I don't mind a change of style, but why are we not building on the known and good, proven and stable?

    If it's free, why would we have to exercise in some kind of planned obsolesence? With the car there is a matter of the markets, but what are the market issues here? Sometimes I feel like, as my father used to say, "Jane, this country is built on the middle men. If it was all free, how could we make a living."

    Sometimes I think they don't want to iron the bugs out, to make a flawless system that's free to the consumer, in many ways. Why don't the developers fix the bugs before moving on to the next competitive car? It must intertwine with the thinking about the Volkswagon. You MUST plan obsolesence to keep running in the markets.

    In the same way that free from the government puts private enterprise out of business, so constant free food hurts the restaurant business. But if we put some bugs in our food the restaurants won't get too mad at us.

    Have I mixed too many metaphors here? I think I have gotten far off-topic. But at the mention of revolution, I did tie my old bandana around my head.
    ................................
    It's not so much about weathering the storm as it is about learning to dance in the rain.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    Sorry I got so carried away (it's been building inside of me with all the problems with sound and resolution. I started feeling like the catcher, in the rye).

    And it all is seeming very off-topic from the title of the thread. Forgive me.
    ................................
    It's not so much about weathering the storm as it is about learning to dance in the rain.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Fixing low screen resolution for legacy hardware

    I think you're kinda right on point. No one in this post so far is "mad" at ubuntu. I think we all love the people there.
    I think the developers want to know what people are saying about the constant graphics and sound problems.
    In the end, these constant problems can only hurt their revenue.
    Let's not forget ubuntu/Canonical is a money-making company with employees that need to eat!
    They want their operating system to work! It's the only way to earn money for support, education, swag, and deployments.
    I hope people that are experiencing video/audio problems every day with every distro keep posting here! I hope the post gets so big it enables the good folks at Canonical to know what will not only help us, but inevitably help them succeed in making the best operating system they possibly can.
    I'm sure they see how many posts per day revolve around these issues. However, if any of you on-lookers who are having problems end up reading this, post here! No need to get all riled-up. Just let them know you're out there. Only good can come from it.
    I think ST3ALTHPSYCH0's purpose in creating this thread was to start a friendly petition... although he refers to it as a revolution, so I won't speak for him. lol
    Oh, Linux... if only I had known.

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