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Old 04-15-2007, 07:08 PM   #1
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Help me fix a Display Resolution problem?

As is obvious, since I am posting here, I am a newbie to Linux. A friend help me set up a computer with Core 4 before I moved out of town. I am using Gnome as my user interface.

After I bought a new display (Acer 22" AL2216w) I noted that the screen was still displaying at 800x600 @ 256 colors, and would not give me any other options. The Hardware showed the screen as a Generic 1248x780 and the card as a Generic 3DLabxxxx. I asked another friend, and he suggested I change the Display to a higher resolution (1248x1280 I think). I then rebooted. Then the hassles started!

The boot dialog told me "failure to create /dev/console 17, failure to create /dev/nul 17, and failure to create /dev/zero". It then pops up a floating box with the message "Input Not Supported". The boot goes not further.

It was suggested to use the Rescue disk. So I boot with the CD. Toke all the defaults. It "created a new system in /mnt/sysimage". It then suggested that I use chroot /mnt/sysimage. I did, rebooted, but the problem continues.

But since I now have access to a shell command line, I was wondering if I could manually change a configuration file, change the root back to the original location, and get my system back.

Question: What file do I change? Where is it located? What is the old location of the system so I can undo the chroot command?

Thanks a lot people. I am trying to learn Linux late in my career, so this has put me in a bit of a bind.

Old 04-16-2007, 12:13 PM   #2
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The rescue didn't create a new system in /mnt/sysimage, it simply mounted your system in the rescue environment under /mnt/system. The chroot command is basically telling the rescue environment to pretend that it is running with /mnt/sysimage as the / partition. Once you get back to your chrooted environment, try running /usr/bin/system-config-display.

If you are able to run that command, and change your display, you will then need to get out of the chroot environment and reboot the system without the rescue CD.

Hope this helps.
Old 04-16-2007, 01:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the help

Just to report back to Forrestt and anyone that might read this thread in the future, I did get things back to working last night/early this morning. Here is what we had to do:

1. We went into single user mode by interrupting the GRUB before it hit zero on its count down timer.
2. I then had to edit the boot script for my system (instructions at the bottom of the screen say to type "e")
3. I then edited the Kernel ("e") and added an "s" to the end of it. save it, and rebooted
4. Once in single user mode, I had to edit the /etc/inittab file to change the runlevel to text mode (changed the 5 to a 3), I had to edit the file also to eliminate the Kernel from booting up the rhgb (a graphical interface). This meant dropping the rhgb from the Kernel line.
5. Now when I rebooted I got to a clean text only mode. Here is where I could use Forresst's suggesting and redo the Display file, reset the display to 1024x768. I then reset the runlevel to 5, and I was back to seeing my GUI.
6. I then reset the inittab file to do a runlevel to 5, saved, and rebooted.

If it were not for friends to help us when we get into these things, I would hate to think of where I would be!!!

Thanks to all!!!

Old 04-16-2007, 02:08 PM   #4
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Now you are back to the part where you need to update your configuration to get a higher resolution and color depth on your new monitor..

I would start by making a backup of your xorg.conf file

cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak

the Recommended resolution for that display is 1680x1050 @ 60Hz

You really need to know the HorizRefresh(horizontal Refresh) and VertRefresh (Vertical Refresh) ranges for the Display. Unfortunately Acer seems to think this is secret[/sarcasm] info and doesn't have it posted anywhere. Your only recourse is probably to call tech support and see if they can provide the info for you. The only info they give is the refresh rate at the highest resolution is 60Hz.. That's not very helpful.

you may also want to do a lspci to get a bit more detailed info on your video card so you can choose the best driver for it. vesa, svga, fb are all basic drivers that won't take advantage of your video chipsets features and will limit you to dismal resolutions such as 800x600 or just slightly higher..

The glint driver supports 3Dlabs (GLINT MX, GLINT 500TX, GLINT 300SX, GLINT GAMMA, GLINT DELTA, GLINT GAMMA2, Permedia, Permedia 2, Permedia 2v, Permedia 3, R3, R4) and Texas Instruments (Permedia, Permedia 2) chips.
Old 04-17-2007, 12:14 PM   #5
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Can we take a side trip for a second?

I appreciate the help on getting me better resolution on my Linux box. But I need to take a small side trip on something. <warning a real newbie question>

It was suggested that I so the command lspci. OK, no problem, I go to terminal mode, and type the command. "No such command" it tells me. Strange. I do the man lspci and get a good explanation of the command (this I really love about Linux!!!). So thus the side trip questions:
  • Why can't I run some command?
    If it is that the command is not in my path, how do I find out what path I need?
    If it is that some command were not "loaded" how/where do I get them on my systems?

This is, I know a basic question, but you all seem friendly to newbies, so I ask.

Old 04-17-2007, 06:28 PM   #6
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OK well this is definitely a difference between Windows defaults and Linux defaults. On a typical Windows machine everyone is an Administrator by default and can do anything they want to a system. In Linux you log in as a normal user and your rights are limited.

Typically when someone directs you to run a command to gather information about your system, they just assume you know to open the shell and use the 'su -' command (yes INCLUDING that dash) to root before you run the command, or if it doesn't work as the normal user to automatically try as root. When you issue su - that tells the system you wish to switch users, the dash says give me the users environment such a the different $PATH that user would have..

Back to the command you referenced. lspci well lets look at why you couldn't run it.. You are correct the location of lspci is probably not in your users default path, BUT if you know the full path of the command you should be able to run it.. we will use the which command to try and locate the lspci command

default@debian:~$ which lspci
default@debian:~$ /usr/bin/lspci
which tells us that lspci is located in the /usr/bin/ directory so if we specify the full path we may be able to run the command. If that didn't work for you try switching to root and running which lspci again.

if you were root, your path would include some of the other locations where typical system administration binaries are stored.

default@debian:~$ echo $PATH

default@debian:~$ su -

debian:~# echo $PATH
Notice the three additional directories in that path for root (indicated by the # prompt) , as opposed to the normal user (indicated by the $ prompt)..

Some commands will run as the user but may not return as much information as they would if you were root.. a good example of this is the command lshw when you run this command it actually tells you that you should be super-user when doing so.

default@debian:~$ lshw
WARNING: you should run this program as super-user.
lshw is a nifty utility, it gathers lots and lots of detailed information about the hardware in your system. if you don't already have this command I would suggest using your distros software packaging system to install it.

I hope that helps clear things up a bit, and gets you rolling down the Linux path a little easier..

enjoy !

Last edited by farslayer; 04-17-2007 at 06:30 PM.
Old 04-18-2007, 09:18 PM   #7
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Excellent help, thanks

Thanks for the information on commands and $PATH. It is just the information that I have been missing on so many other things.

It will be Saturday before I can put it to any use, however. I am taking all day classes at the university and am away from the Linux box. As soon as I get back I will run those commands and see what I get.

Again, thanks.

Old 04-19-2007, 02:11 AM   #8
Wim Sturkenboom
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Found this one for the specs.
Max resolution 1680 x 1050
Max sync rate (V x H) 76 Hz x 82 KHz
If you can't find the specs but know the resolution, you can always use this modeline calculator to find a minimum value for the maximum value of the horizontal frequency. Simply enter the resolution and select a conservative setting for the vertical refresh (eg 60 Hz) and calculate.
In your case (1680x1050) that will give 65 kHz. This means that your monitor will (at all times) be able to handle that horzontal refresh rate.

In a similar fashion you can claculate the minimum value that the monitor can handle. For 800x600 at 60 Hz, this will be 37 kHz.

So your horizsync in the X configuration file can be semthing like:
HorizSync [B}37 - 65[/B]
You might have to increase the 65 slightly if it does not want to work (i.e. 66).

With the real numbers from the spec, I would make something like above but with 82 kHz instead of 65 kHz and probably lower the minimum so you can support 640x480 (not very usefull on a monitor like that.


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