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Old 02-28-2008, 04:41 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Solved - the shrinking screen resolution on a headless server

By a headless server I mean one without a monitor attached.

I recently changed my file & print (samba) server from Fedora core 5 to Ubuntu 7.10. While I had it on the bench I used a 15" LCD monitor to do the install. Worked great and I had a resolution of 1024 x 768. The video card is some sort of low end ATI card as supplied by Dell.

I changed my account to automatically login (System; Administration; Login window) and allowed remote desktop control with a password and without "Ask you for confirmation" (System; Preferences; Remote desktop) as I planned to administer the box remotely with VNC (Terminal Server Client as it is called in Ubuntu). I tested my remote access while the box was on the bench with the monitor connected and all worked just fine.

I then shut it down and put it back in its normal place with only power and network connected. When I accessed it with VNC from a Windows PC I found that the screen resolution was only 800 x 600. Enough for minimal administration but not what I expected. I had the same issue with a headless workstation which I setup with Ubuntu 7.10. Only 800 x 600 when no monitor was attached. This one was a little more of an issue. So I fixed it. Here is how:

From the menu - System; Administration; Screens and Graphics

The "Model" is shown as "Plug 'n' play" (but I guess as it is not plugged in it cannot play) The only resolution choices are 800 x 600 or less.

Click on "Plug 'n' Play" and a screen titled "Choose Screen" appears. I selected "Generic" and "Monitor 1024 x 768" and then OK.

I now can select 1024 x 768 as my desired resolution. I was told that "All users must log off for the chances to take effect" so I chose System; Quit; Restart as I was not sure if I would automatically login after doing a manual logout.

I reconnected and found that the resolution was 1280 x 1024. Easy enough to change back to my desired 1024 x 768. I now have a whole range of resolutions to choose from.

Hope this may help someone else facing this issue.



p.s. If you are running VNV on a less user friendly disto, the desired resolution can be configured manually by editing the VNC server configuration files. I guess I could have done that here as well.

p.p.s. When I connected this AM I found the screen at max resolution again. I changed to a 1027 x 768 LCD monitor and it now stays at the desired resolution between connections. Also I found that I do not need to reboot after changing resolution. Simply log out and the automatic login will put be back in business.

p.p.p.s. I just found out the hard way that if I logout during normal operation (not after changing the monitor) the automatic login does not log me back in :-(( Fortunately I was able to ssh to my headless machines and reboot from the command line.

Last edited by taylorkh; 03-04-2008 at 12:55 PM.
Old 03-31-2008, 05:31 AM   #2
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well done...a reply to remove from zero posts
Old 09-06-2008, 12:33 PM   #3
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Thank you!!!!

It was simple and more important it worked

I've tried countless solutions until I've found you post, thank you very much for sharing this!
Old 09-26-2008, 07:40 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot.

This problem made me switch from Ubuntu to Mandriva for my file server.

You are great!!!


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