logo

Home page
Articles for Windows, Linux, OS X
Mac tips and articles
Mac tips
Windows 8 tips and articles
Windows 7 tips and articles
Vista Tips
XP Tips
Linux tips and articles
Read the blog
Online store
Windows, Linux, OS X programs
Links
About

Linux hints and tips

Problems setting the screen resolution?

A problem you can get in some linux distros, including openSUSE, is that you can't set the correct screen resolution. For example, you have a 19in LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1280 x 1024, but the desktop is set to 1024 x 768, or 1280 x 960 or some other resolution. When LCD monitors are not run at their native resolution the screen display is very poor. It's not too bad with videos and games, but anything with text looks fuzzy and it's really irritating. You may try to change the desktop resolution, but either it won't stick or the correct resolution is not offered.

A lot of people have this problem and there isn't always a solution. In openSUSE (KDE) you should be able to run Administrator Settings (YaST), select the Hardware category and then click Graphics Card and Monitor. If the monitor is not correct, click the Change button next to it and then select it in the list. You can then select the resolution and the number of colours. The screen should switch to the selected resolution. If it doesn't, go to the Application Launcher menu in the panel at the foot of the screen and open Configure Desktop. Open Display in the Computer Administration section and set the desktop size in the drop-down list.

For some reason, some people can't do this and the desktop resolution they want can't be selected because it's not one that's on the list. Some people have found that it's a problem with the settings in xorg.conf. Open a Terminal window and enter su followed by the password. Then enter nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Check the Screen section. It should look something like this:

Section "Screen"
  DefaultDepth 24
  SubSection "Display"
    Depth      16
    Modes      "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1280x800" "1024x768"
  EndSubSection
  SubSection "Display"
    Depth      24
    Modes      "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1280x800" "1024x768"
  EndSubSection
  Device       "Device[0]"
  Identifier   "Screen[0]"
  Monitor      "Monitor[0]"
EndSection

Make sure that the screen modes that your monitor can handle are all present and correct. Press Ctrl+O to save and Ctrl+X to exit. The exit the Terminal.

None of this worked for me with openSUSE and KDE. A workaround that is far from perfect is this... Run Administrator Settings (YaST), select the Hardware category and then click Graphics Card and Monitor. Click the Change button next to Monitor and select the -->LCD monitor type. My monitor is designed for 1280x1024 @ 60Hz so I selected a 1600x1200 @60Hz LCD monitor in the list. This is higher than my monitor is capable of displaying, but don't worry. Another important setting is on the Sync Frequencies tab. Even though I want 1280x1024 @ 60Hz, I need to set at least a 70Hz maximum horizontal sync freqency. Any lower and the resolution I want isn't available.

Click OK to close the monitor selection window and then select the correct resolution in the drop-down list, 1280x1024 in my case, in the monitor/video card window. The reason for doing this is because the top resolution is not available on my monitor, but by pretending I have a better monitor than I really have, I can use a lower setting, which is actually the one I want.

Quit and save the settings, then restart linux. When I get to the desktop it's all fuzzy because the sync frequency is no 60Hz, which is what I need. It's very blurry, but I can just manage to go to the Application Launcher menu in the panel at the foot of the screen and open Configure Desktop. Open Display in the Computer Administration section and select a different desktop size in the drop-down list. Apply the settings and then reset the correct desktop settings - 1280x1024 @ 60Hz in my case.

This is a weird bug and it affects other people too, not just me. If you can't follow everything above, here's a simple explanation: The top resolution is missing for my monitor, so I can't select it. I pick a monitor that's better than mine in the settings, so it doesn't matter if the top setting is missing. I can then select one of its lower settings - the one that corresponds to my monitor's native resolution.

Unfortunately, the resolution doesn't stick between boots. Every time I boot up I have to go to Configure Desktop, pick a different resolution then return to the correct one. It's then OK till I switch off.

Go to Linux tips index...

copyright