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Old 01-31-2006, 09:52 PM   #1
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Question configuring debian on an old computer

Hi there
I am entirely new to Linux and do not have much experience with computers. I have been trying to redeem an old Micron P166 with a 2 GB Hard Drive and a 48 MB RAM with a workable Linux distribution. As an experiment I did an internet installation of the latest Debian distribution and after much trial and error, have the desktop working with KDE installed. However the display on the monitor is not adequate and does not cover the entire 17 inch screen. When I check the configuration it seems to be set at 800x600 maximum even though I repeatedly configured XF86 config file to reflect 1024x768, the recommended resolution. When I try to reconfigure XServer-XFree86, there too the maximum resolution seems to be set at 800x600. Can anybody help me with this? Also, I am unable to run any XWindows environment even though I believe I have installed twm and Window Maker. Is there any way I can get this to work from my KDE Desktop environment or outside of it?

Thanks to anybody who can help me with this.
Old 01-31-2006, 10:19 PM   #2
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KDE is your xwindow environment. Not sure about configuring the server, but sometimes as root you can type dkpg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86 and reset the settings. To switch between desktops (i.e use windowmaker instead of KDE), you might install something like kdm or gdm that will give you a choice at login. They'll run faster than KDE on your old machine.

Another option if you're not opposed to a reinstall is to install Damn Small Linux.
Old 02-01-2006, 03:05 AM   #3
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Re: the screen size thing - it's possible on a machine of this age that the VGA chip doesn't support > 800x600.
Old 02-01-2006, 03:50 AM   #4
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Try lowering the color depth (to 16 for example) in order to increase resolution.
Old 02-01-2006, 09:55 AM   #5
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Use the already mentioned reconfigure command and have the settings for the vertical/horizontal refresh rates handy for the monitor (a quick Google search on make/model number usually comes up with these if you do not have the manual) choose the advanced option and put them in definitely use the 16bit colour depth as I doubt you have a card with more than 2mb memory on-board it in that machine.
Old 02-01-2006, 02:02 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone, will definitely try what you have suggested and let you know what happens.
Old 02-03-2006, 08:09 AM   #7
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What Driver do you have in Section "Device" of /etc/X11/XF86Config? I don't think "vga" can do more than 800x600, 16 colors.
Old 02-03-2006, 08:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by pljvaldez
To switch between desktops (i.e use windowmaker instead of KDE), you might install something like kdm or gdm that will give you a choice at login. They'll run faster than KDE on your old machine.
Go figure how much faster a simple
$echo "exec *thewindowmanageryouwanttousetoday*" > ~/.xinitrc
will be Google will probably supply tons and tons of these non-graphical solutions.


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