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Thread: HowTo: Reconfigure X with “dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg”

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    Join Date
    May 2007

    HowTo: Reconfigure X with “dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg”

    This HowTo Guide is primarily for users who cannot get into the GUI after a fresh install, a dist-upgrade, a new video card install, or a video driver upgrade, and for users who cannot set their screen resolutions correctly from within the GUI. It is designed to be easy to use without being overly simplistic.

    UPDATE: This method does not work with Hardy Heron and probably all versions to follow (including Intrepid Ibex). This method seems to ONLY work with Gutsy Gibbon and older.
    I think this is because the newer versions of xserver-xorg rely more on auto-detecting the configuration during runtime rather than looking at xorg.conf.

    Step 1: Get to the terminal

    1a) If you are already in the GUI.
    For Gnome and Xfce: Applications->Accessories->Terminal
    For KDE: KMenu->System->Konsole

    1b) If you are NOT in the GUI (maybe you have a blank screen after boot-up)
    Do CTRL+ALT+F1 to get to a tty, and login with your username and password. Then depending on your desktop environment, run
    For Gnome (Ubuntu):
    sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
    For KDE (Kubuntu):
    sudo /etc/init.d/kdm stop
    For Xfce (Xubuntu):
    sudo /etc/init.d/xdm stop
    Step 2: Run the reconfiguration

    First start by making a manual backup (even though one will be auto-generated in the form xorg.conf.YearMonthDayTime):
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup
    Now run the configuration:
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
    --You will be asked a bunch of questions about your hardware, do your best to answer. If you don’t know the answer, take an educated guess or use the default selection.
    --When asked about video drivers, select “ati” if you have an ATI card, “nv” if you have an Nvidia card, or “intel” if you have an onboard Intel graphics card. Otherwise select “vesa” – this is more of a fallback driver if the other options don’t work, it is useful to select this to get into the GUI initially, then install the propriety drivers if needed (step 4).
    --When asked about screen resolutions, use TAB to move and SPACEBAR to select your monitor’s max resolution and everything less.

    Once the questions are finished, you may proceed.

    Step 3: Restart the GUI

    3a) You are currently in the GUI, so restart X with CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE

    3b) You are in a tty, so run
    For Gnome (Ubuntu):
    sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start
    For KDE (Kubuntu):
    sudo /etc/init.d/kdm start
    For Xfce (Xubuntu):
    sudo /etc/init.d/xdm start
    Step 4: (OPTIONAL) Setup Proprietary Drivers
    This is for users whose cards do not have full support with the open source drivers. Nvidia users tend to use this more, but newer ATI cards also need them.
    See links for details on card compatibility.

    Installing Nvidia propriety drivers
    Installing ATI propriety drivers

    Details on ati/radeon open source drivers

    If something doesn’t work out correctly and you want to recover your previous configuration for X, then restore your backup:
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    Then restart X.

    Please do not post help questions on this thread, start a new thread on the Absolute Beginner’s Forum instead. Suggestions, reviews, and critique are certainly welcome.

    Keywords: can’t login, broken X, no login screen, blank screen, low or wrong resolution, new video card
    Last edited by Rocket2DMn; March 27th, 2008 at 12:24 AM.


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