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Cynthia Yabut 11-29-2010 12:09 PM

How do I get a 21.5" monitor to display at the right size? (Ubuntu 10.04)
After getting tired of squinting at my netbook screen (System 76 Starling) I bought a 21.5" Asus VE228H monitor. It works beautifully with the right resolution and aspect, EXCEPT that the driver Ubuntu is using is for a 22" monitor, and the image on the screen has about 1/8" missing all around. Sadly, this eliminates the menu bar at the top of the screen. Moving the image down doesn't help. Is there any way to shrink the image, or get Ubuntu to use a driver for a 20" or 21" monitor instead of 22"? I've been using computers since DOS command line days, but have been using Ubuntu only about 2 months. Can anyone help me? Thanks!

thorkelljarl 11-29-2010 12:33 PM


What is the graphics on the Starling system that you have, there seems to be more than one small Starling? Is it an Intel chip?

You will need the specifications of your screen, at least the standard resolutions and their refresh rates that the screen produces, probably the max. and min. horizontal and vertical rates and perhaps the exact size in pixels.

If you have Intel graphics, are you using an Intel driver you downloaded from Ubuntu?

The standard way to fix such a problem is to edit the graphics file(xorg.conf?), but first the question is, is there one or something else? You should, however be able to generate an "xorg.conf" if needed.

If you are using your real name to post, you might wisely cloak yourself with a persona.

Cynthia Yabut 11-29-2010 01:41 PM

Thanks for the quick reply, Thorkell- Sorry I wasn't detailed enough... here's more info-
1- New Starling 4, Intel GMA 3150 graphics card
2- Didn't download anything- using what's already in the system
3- Monitor spec is 1920 x 1080 resolution, refresh H: 30-83 Hz, V:50-76
4- When I look at monitors in the system menu, and select "detect monitors" it shows the monitor as "AROR 22", resolution at 1920 x 1080, 60 Hz refresh, and the picture is perfect- just a smidge too big.

impert 11-29-2010 02:52 PM

A few years ago I had a similar problem. My screen measures 375 mm wide x 300 high and the Debian generated xorg.conf set things for a screen 380 mm wide.
It was fixed by adding the line:

DisplaySize 375 300
to the Monitor section of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file
The section read something like:


Section Monitor
        Identifier    "Configured Monitor"
        HorizSync      30-83
        VertRefresh    50-76
        DisplaySize    375  300

At the time there was a helluva lot of other stuff in there too. Nowadays it seems the less you put in, the better it works. I would suggest making an /etc/X11/xorg.conf file with just the lines above - change the sizes to suit - and log out and in again to restart X
This may make X crash in some way, so be prepared to do a <Ctrl> <F2> to get a terminal, log in as root, mv your new xorg.conf to the Desktop or somewhere, restart X and do some googling.
Edit: Or better, have a good read of the man page for xorg.conf, but don't let it discourage you!

thorkelljarl 11-29-2010 03:21 PM


If you have not already, can you enable the right Ubuntu repository and see if there is a "restricted" Intel driver to install? After that look for a copy of any configuration file you have or that it will generate. Try the command "xrandr -q" and notice "--verbose"

Note that "xrandr" should be able change the screen size.

How are you connecting the Asus screen, VGA-DVI...?

I'm working from theory and Google on this case; I don't use Ubuntu, I don't have Intel graphics and I still have a CRT screen.

impert 11-30-2010 07:30 AM


Note that "xrandr" should be able change the screen size.
Thanks for this. I've got some catching up to do on xrandr!

thorkelljarl 11-30-2010 08:38 AM

Google tells me...

As I read the man pages for "xrandr", the option "--fb" sets the dimensions of the screen. However, there are two additional options to consider, "--fbmm" and "--dpi".


--fb widthxheight
              Reconfigures  the  screen  to the specified size. All configured
              monitors must fit within this size. When this option is not pro-
              vided,  xrandr  computes the smallest screen size that will hold
              the set of configured outputs; this option  provides  a  way  to
              override that behaviour.

The changes made under "xrandr" are apparently not permanent, but can be copied and used to edit a configuration file.

There are many internet posting on using "xrandr", but this is one of the areas where trial and error seems both the best and the only method to get good results.

Cynthia Yabut 11-30-2010 12:48 PM

Thanks for the excellent feedback. I am really impressed by the speed and aptness of your responses to my question. It looks like using xrandr to edit the config file is the way to go (especially since I have no clue as to what or where the appropriate Ubuntu repository is, nor how to enable it, or what I'd be looking for if I ever got there). I've been playing with Ubuntu, and reading Ubuntu for Non-Geeks (excellent non-technical book, by the way), for only two months, so I currently know just about enough to be dangerous. A quick scan of the xrandr manual page (thanks Thorkell) convinced me I have a LOT of studying to do before I try to implement this fix, but I am going to mark this thread as solved. (PS- the 21.5 monitor is usable as-is; I just have to log on and off using the netbook screen.)

thorkelljarl 11-30-2010 01:13 PM

Fair is fair, Cynth...

The etiquette prescribed by LQ requires that after you have a solution, you post back with a description of what you did to solve your problem with sufficient detail to allow others to solve a similar problem themselves.

I learn, you learn, he/she/it learns. Good Luck

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