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Been using debian etch for 1 year, but a few days ago my screen resolution changed from 1024x768 at 75hz to 640x480 at a blinking 60hz and all options dissapeared as well.
Trying to use a text editor to change the etc. x11 xorg.cong file, don't have any experience with text editors and can't find info on how to become root in nano or gedit.
Do you use a proprietary driver? If you use nvisia, you should have nvidia-settings, which can set resolution from a GUI. And have you tried gedit? It's a lot less cryptic than nano (not that nano is all that cryptic if you read the legend at the bottom).
I kind of think that sudo is a bit more convenient than su - but it doesn't work out of the box on Debian.
Thanks all for your help, I finally had success. Nano was working ok I didn't realize it stopped at the bottom of the file and all I had to do was scroll up. I downloaded "dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg" while root in terminal and this restored the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file giving me options with the resolution but it wasn't advanced enough to also provide different refresh options so I had to type those in manually and in the process of that I did it in a way that my computer couldn't restart. So I had to fix that from the terminal at the start of the boot that looks like ms-dos. I was worried sick because nano was the only text editor it would open but I was able to get through it and make the corrections to expand the hz. range to read 48-75 instead of typing it "70" "72" "75" like the resolutions rates. It needs a range then the different refresh rates will be available according to what the monitor can handle. What an ordeal, but I gained a lot of confidence with debian over this. All I can say is you must learn nano and aptitude because they seem to be the only things available when the system can't start.
I wanted to say one more thing, another trick that saved me was having a knoppix os on a cd. It allowed me to use the computer from a cd drive and get info on the internet while the main system was down. That little cd is a life saver.