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xorg.conf is the configuration file for the X server. It'll be found in /etc/X11. You'll need to edit the file with root privileges to change your resolution. Since you're using Ubuntu, you'll want to put "sudo" before any commands you use in the terminal, e.g. to open the file with gedit:
$ sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
In the file, you're looking for the Screen section. Simply change the resolution for your default depth. Here's my section as an example:
If you're needing to edit the xorg.conf file to change your resolution in Ubuntu, make sure to take a look at the vert and horiz frequencies in the monitor section. Be sure they are correct for your monitor.
is 1280x1024 possiblefor your monitor? my monitor can only truly do 1024x768, despite doing higher in windows (it lies!)
anyway, Nylex posted how to do it, you have to set the default colour depth (24 is best) and then ammend the mode for that depth, xorg will take the first res in the list. Check his reply, it's clearer than my explanation.
Again, add the resolution to the list for the subsection corresponding to your default depth (or add it to all of them). As for frequencies, in the "Monitor" section, you're looking for "HorizSync" and "VertRefresh".
Edit: you'll obviously need to restart the X server after making changes to your xorg.conf. This can be done with Ctrl+Alt+Backspace.