How to change Screen resolution in Ubuntu

This tutorial will explain how to change Screen resolution in Ubuntu and this might work in all ubuntu versions

Procedure to follow

1) Go to System ---> Preferences ---> Display


2) Once it opens you should see similar to the following screen here you can  mirroring screens, detecting monitors, refresh rate, resolution, rotation, and to show the panel icon.


3) If you choose to display the panel icon option in the above screen you should see similar to the following screen in your notification area from here you can configure screen resolution


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42 Responses

  1. ArrangedEntropy says:

    Didnt work for me. It said: Could not get resolution. RANDR extension not present.

  2. kenna says:

    The panel Display Preferences don’t show the alternativ 1920×1200 which my monitor can use.
    Vhat to do?

  3. Ami says:

    Karmic has issues with detecting monitors, mainly with Intel gfx. A few threads reg. this are already opened in UbuntuForums. Issues are similar to the one described by Kenna here. Also – tips in older forum threads are no longer relevant since xorg.conf was either moved or eliminated (at least, some users including me can’t find it under /etc/X11).

  4. Russ says:

    Just installed hardy the other day, completely new to linux.

    Not sure if this applies to the resolution exactly, but my desktop exceeds the size of my screen (using a Sony lcd tv if it makes a difference). The outside edges of the desktop are just out of sight on what I’m seeing on my screen. I only have two options for resolution and the alternative does the same thing, except everything is now too big to fit on the screen too. I’m having trouble finding anything online about this so any help is appreciated, thanks.

  5. ZloboMiR says:


    My issue is that I can’t access Preferences at all due to my resolution, so I find it a bit of, ermmm, ummm, STUPID to advice people to use GUI to fix a display problem. At least Display could (should?) be started via some shell command?

  6. george says:

    Hi ,
    My issue is my screen resolution is not proper
    am using ACER 19″ monitor . wat settings I want to change on preference display menu to get correct resolution. Can anybody help me to solve my problem ?

  7. venkittaraman says:

    i installed ubuntu 9.1
    and screen resolution is automatically selected (16:9).
    i dont need such a big resolution and the frequency as 85hz.
    it is not possible to change it, why is it so?
    now its a very big screen and i am not able to operate on it.
    please help me.
    actually my monitor support only 60hz, then how it automaticaly selects 85 and not changable also.
    and in my windows os i have 1024×768, i need that one.
    but thats also is not changable when i click on that tab.
    i am totaly confused, please help me to sort it out.
    if anyone knows how to deal it please help

  8. admin says:

    Which graphics card you are using

  9. venkittaraman says:

    i am not using any graphics card and i have only a 256mb RAM.
    is that the problem?

  10. nik says:

    I absolutely agree with Ami, there was a way xorg.conf could be reconfigured, I had a garbled display when I selected 1024*768 but worked perfectly fine with 1152*864. I was not able to fix my home account display but I was able to enter root account and get my work done.
    Here’s how:
    1)After you login, press ctrl+alt+F1.
    2)Enter root: $sudo -i
    3)#stop gdm
    5)Press ctrl+alt+F7

  11. venkittaraman says:

    help me please i am not familiar to ubuntu and still not having a good resolution to work with it!
    And how do i know that the reply typed here is for my question or not?
    however i tried the comments by nik and still no change.
    i am having a 256mb ram and intel celron mother board no other graphics cards.
    please help me to have a good screen resolution.

  12. doccpu says:

    Why can’t they leave good stuff alone? 8.04 had wifi. 8.1 lost its ability to do wifi
    up to 9.04 could detect monitors. 9.1 doesnt detect intel and other vidchips or thus the monitors. Why cant they leave stuff that works alone? Linux has been a bust for me because of all the hassles.

  13. eevil says:

    well venkittaraman theres only one thing to do.leave ubuntu..yeh its a rl headache getting your printer to work,your mic,your montior’s screen resolution and loads of other stuff.

  14. WEJ says:

    I have the same problem with resolution when using Umbutu 9.10, and usung HP-Vectra which has an Intel 82815 Graphic controller. The only Resolution settings (System/Preferences/Display) are: 800×600 and 640×480 at 60 or 56 Hz. I’m pretty new at Umbutu. It appears the the earlier versions of Umbutu had a solution by changing /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    That file seems to have been moved or elminated in Umbutu 9.10

  15. deepak says:

    Hi All,

    I am not able to change the screen resolution to 1024*768 in ubuntu 9.10 .I was able to work in 1024*768 in ubuntu 9.9 but after upgrade I dont have the option displayed for 1024*768 . the maximum displayed for ubuntu 9.10 is 800*600. Please let me know how can I change it.


  16. john says:

    i think you have to download the driver of the grafic card you use.we do that for windows don’t we.does anyone know how to work a canon printer on ubuntu?mine doesnt work and what’s an alien package?!

  17. Earl says:

    I’ve just install Ubuntu 9.10 and my screen res is too big at 1600×1200 and unable to view my entire screen. whenever I change the resolution to anything lower the screen get very distorted and unable to make out anything on the screen.
    I tried locating the xorg.conf file at /etc/X11/ but don’t seem to be there. just to make sure I checked my other gateway notebook that i managed to get ubuntu working on fine and on that too the xorg.conf is not located under /etc/X11/

    any ideas guys,
    thanks in advance for any assistance on this issue.

  18. vishnu says:

    i too ve d same prob..cos i get only two resolutions not 1280×786

  19. Ali Khan says:

    My log file says the following

    X.Org X Server 1.7.6
    Release Date: 2010-03-17
    X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0
    Build Operating System: Linux 2.6.24-25-server i686 Ubuntu
    Current Operating System: Linux ali-PC 2.6.32-22-generic #33-Ubuntu SMP Wed Apr 28 13:27:30 UTC 2010 i686
    Kernel command line: root=UUID=bc05106b-e13c-4600-8af2-5909c9b16470 ro quiet splash
    Build Date: 23 April 2010 05:11:50PM
    xorg-server 2:1.7.6-2ubuntu7 (Bryce Harrington )
    Current version of pixman: 0.16.4
    Before reporting problems, check
    to make sure that you have the latest version.
    Markers: (–) probed, (**) from config file, (==) default setting,
    (++) from command line, (!!) notice, (II) informational,
    (WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
    (==) Log file: “/var/log/Xorg.0.log”, Time: Tue May 25 20:10:19 2010
    (==) Using config directory: “/usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d”
    (==) No Layout section. Using the first Screen section.
    (==) No screen section available. Using defaults.
    (**) |–>Screen “Default Screen Section” (0)
    (**) | |–>Monitor “”
    (==) No monitor specified for screen “Default Screen Section”.
    Using a default monitor configuration.
    (==) Automatically adding devices
    (==) Automatically enabling devices
    (WW) The directory “/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic” does not exist.
    Entry deleted from font path.
    (==) FontPath set to:
    (==) ModulePath set to “/usr/lib/xorg/extra-modules,/usr/lib/xorg/modules”
    (II) The server relies on udev to provide the list of input devices.
    If no devices become available, reconfigure udev or disable AutoAddDevices.
    (II) Loader magic: 0x81f0e80
    (II) Module ABI versions:
    X.Org ANSI C Emulation: 0.4
    X.Org Video Driver: 6.0
    X.Org XInput driver : 7.0
    X.Org Server Extension : 2.0
    (++) using VT number 7

    (–) PCI:*(0:0:2:0) 8086:2562:8086:4c59 Intel Corporation 82845G/GL[Brookdale-G]/GE Chipset Integrated Graphics Device rev 1, Mem @ 0xf0000000/134217728, 0xffa80000/524288
    (–) PCI: (0:1:1:0) 109e:036e:0000:0000 Brooktree Corporation Bt878 Video Capture rev 17, Mem @ 0xe6afd000/4096
    (WW) Open ACPI failed (/var/run/acpid.socket) (No such file or directory)
    (II) LoadModule: “extmod”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/
    (II) Module extmod: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 1.0.0
    Module class: X.Org Server Extension
    ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 2.0
    (II) Loading extension MIT-SCREEN-SAVER
    (II) Loading extension XFree86-VidModeExtension
    (II) Loading extension XFree86-DGA
    (II) Loading extension DPMS
    (II) Loading extension XVideo
    (II) Loading extension XVideo-MotionCompensation
    (II) Loading extension X-Resource
    (II) LoadModule: “dbe”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/
    (II) Module dbe: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 1.0.0
    Module class: X.Org Server Extension
    ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 2.0
    (II) Loading extension DOUBLE-BUFFER
    (II) LoadModule: “glx”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/
    (II) Module glx: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 1.0.0
    ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 2.0
    (==) AIGLX enabled
    (II) Loading extension GLX
    (II) LoadModule: “record”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/
    (II) Module record: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 1.13.0
    Module class: X.Org Server Extension
    ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 2.0
    (II) Loading extension RECORD
    (II) LoadModule: “dri”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/
    (II) Module dri: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 1.0.0
    ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 2.0
    (II) Loading extension XFree86-DRI
    (II) LoadModule: “dri2″
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/
    (II) Module dri2: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 1.1.0
    ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 2.0
    (II) Loading extension DRI2
    (==) Matched intel as autoconfigured driver 0
    (==) Matched vesa as autoconfigured driver 1
    (==) Matched fbdev as autoconfigured driver 2
    (==) Assigned the driver to the xf86ConfigLayout
    (II) LoadModule: “intel”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
    (II) Module intel: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 2.11.0
    Module class: X.Org Video Driver
    ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 6.0
    (II) LoadModule: “vesa”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
    (II) Module vesa: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 2.3.0
    Module class: X.Org Video Driver
    ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 6.0
    (II) LoadModule: “fbdev”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
    (II) Module fbdev: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 0.4.1
    ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 6.0
    (II) intel: Driver for Intel Integrated Graphics Chipsets: i810,
    i810-dc100, i810e, i815, i830M, 845G, 852GM/855GM, 865G, 915G,
    E7221 (i915), 915GM, 945G, 945GM, 945GME, Pineview GM, Pineview G,
    965G, G35, 965Q, 946GZ, 965GM, 965GME/GLE, G33, Q35, Q33, GM45,
    4 Series, G45/G43, Q45/Q43, G41, B43, Clarkdale, Arrandale
    (II) VESA: driver for VESA chipsets: vesa
    (II) FBDEV: driver for framebuffer: fbdev
    (II) Primary Device is: PCI [email protected]:02:0
    (WW) Falling back to old probe method for vesa
    (WW) Falling back to old probe method for fbdev
    (II) Loading sub module “fbdevhw”
    (II) LoadModule: “fbdevhw”
    (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/linux/
    (II) Module fbdevhw: vendor=”X.Org Foundation”
    compiled for 1.7.6, module version = 0.0.2
    ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 6.0
    (EE) intel(0): No kernel modesetting driver detected.
    (II) UnloadModule: “intel”
    (EE) Screen(s) found, but none have a usable configuration.

    Fatal server error:
    no screens found

    Please consult the The X.Org Foundation support
    for help.
    Please also check the log file at “/var/log/Xorg.0.log” for additional information.

    ddxSigGiveUp: Closing log

    Can any one help please!!!!

  20. Ali Khan says:

    I am presently running Ubuntu 10.04 in low graphics mode (640×480 resolution)… please help me to configure my machine to work for higher resolutions

  21. Arunabh Das says:

    Please follow the following steps if you are running Ubuntu 10.04 inside Virtual Box –

    1. Start Virtual box and log into Ubuntu.

    2. Hit the right ctrl key so you can get your mouse pointer outside the virtual machine.

    3.Go to top of virtual window, click on devices then select “Install Guest Additions”
    You will see a window pop up inside Ubuntu showing you that there are some new files mounted in a virtual CDROM drive. One of those files should be

    You must run the file with some admin permissions so do that this way…

    4. Click inside the Ubuntu screen again then go to Applications – Accessories then Terminal. The terminal window is where you will run the file from, but first we must navigate to the correct directory.

    5. type this… cd /media/cdrom0 (then hit enter, there is a space after cd!)

    6. next type… dir (You should see amongst the files displayed

    7. now type… sudo sh ./ (yes, that is a full stop before the slash!)

    after you hit enter and it has done its stuff, the files are now accessable from Ubuntu.

    8. You now need to reboot the virtual machine or press Ctrl+Alt+backspace.

    9. Log onto the Ubuntu desktop and this time go to System – Preferences then Screen Resolution. You should now have more options than the three low res options you had at the beginning of the day!

  22. Slider says:

    EUREKA!! By George, I think I’ve got it!

    Okay. So I just installed Lucid 10.04 LTS a few days ago, on an old laptop. It’s a Dell Inspiron 2500, with the ever-so-problematic 82815 chipset built in. Same problem this and a few similar chispets, e.g., 82915) – two resolution choices: 640×480 and 800×600. This display is capable of 1024×768, but for the last couple releases, 800×600 is max supported. Could fix previously with xorg.conf modification, but no more, to the chagrin of many who still use these old, archaic notebooks.

    ALAS, I HAVE SOLVED MY ISSUE, and quite simply indeed!!

    1. System > Preferences > Appearance

    2. Click the “Fonts” tab

    3. Click the “Details…” button (lower right, above “Close”)

    4. At the top, set “Resolution:” to 83 dpi

    5. Click “Close”

    6. Click “Close” again.

    7. System > Preferences > Monitors

    8. 1024×768 is now already set for me. Should be an option for you, too.

    Happy *nixing!

  23. Slider says:

    # ***MODERATOR***
    # The following is a continuation of
    # my previous post, intended to be part
    # of the first message.

    I haven’t experimented enough yet, but I’m assuming at this point that if I wanted to try to get up to a 1280×1024 resolution, I could just keep kicking my DPI down a notch or two at a time until 1280×1024 shows up in my monitor’s configuration options. But on this little screen, that might be a little much.

    Now, due to lack of hardware availability, I cannot warrant the suitability of this procedure for hardware combinations OTHER THAN the 82815 Intel chipset/monitor combination in DELL INSPIRON 2500 laptops. I only have this one laptop to test. BUT, where all other attempts have failed me, this simple little fix solved ALL of my display woes regarding an unachievable 1024×768 resolution. I just hope, for the sake of all the frustrated users whose countless posts I’ve scanned in the last several days, that this will help anyone and everyone with similar issues. Should save all the hassle of trying to fiddle with an xorg.conf file that suddenly no longer exists or doesn’t work when modded, or dealing with device capabilities or wrapping drivers or anything like that. If all you want is a resolution fix, this is it. Best part is, it’s SIMPLE!

  24. Slider says:


    Okay, I tried kicking the DPI setting down even lower – a the way down to 50, one at a time – and stil lthe max I could get is 1024×768. Perhaps (and after a little more thought, I’ve kinda convinced myself that) this display simply doesn’t support anything higher than 1024×768. Which is fine for me… At least most webpages don’t need to be side-scrolled anymore so that I can see them in their entirety. Just thought I’d give it a try. Just for sh*ts and giggles, anyone with a better 4:3 monitor willing to slam their DPI into the weeds and see if it changes the resoution setting under System>Preferences>Appearance (…etc, as in my first post, two before this)? I don’t have the hardware to try it. It certainly won’t hurt your system to try… It’ll just make the fonts look smaller and smaller. All you do is click an up or down arrow to increase or decrease. Not something that’ll mess anyone’s system up to try.

    1. Set your resolution to 1024×768.

    2. Lower your DPI by 5-10 points and see if your resolution changed. If not, lower it another 5-10. Try it several times, or at least somewhere around 50-60dpi and see if it’ll change the assigned resolution. I’m interested to know if this was just a lucky fluke on my hardware, or if this method actually works as long as the hardware supports a higher resolution than assigned. Any other bored geeks out there? 🙂

  25. siruba747 says:

    Slider is right. After hours of trying to install drivers for the Intel 82815 Chipset and i915resolution blah blah blah..

    Thanks, bud. I thought I was going to have to Ubuntu somebody’s ass. 🙂

  26. Slider says:

    LOL. 😀 So, this helped? I ended up having to reinstall 10.04, but before I could even get in and do this whole process again, my HD developed a nasty I/O error. DAMNIT! But it’d be cool to know if I was victim of a freak “Oh, I thought I fixed it but it kinda fixed itself” situation, or if this is actually a useful workaround (I won’t dare call it a “fix”, because it’s awfully “junkyard mechanic” to do it this way, IMHO) for this particular issue.

  27. Will says:

    I changed my resolution, but for some reason my mouse cursor doesn’t show on the screen.

  28. Marti says:

    Slider – that also worked on a Dell Mini 10 (910) with a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04
    Thank You.

  29. Billy says:

    Congratulations to Ubuntu Team! You just cured me from using Linux. I was really going to learn Linux, but if such dead easy thing as resolution change would take several hours to do, then no thanks! I’ll stay away from Linux. Thanks again.

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