James Selvakumar’s Blog

February 22, 2008

Increasing the screen resolution of Ubuntu-7.10 on VirtualBox

Filed under: ubuntu,unix-linux,virtualization — James @ 3:25 pm
Tags: , ,

Oops…finally i managed to configure my ubuntu screen resolution to the fullest.

I have a Dell Vostro 1400 laptop with Windows xp professional. Ubuntu runs on my machine on top of VirtualBox.

But I never enjoyed working with ubuntu, since all i was able to view the ubuntu desktop at the resolution “800×600” only.

After searching through the web, I finally managed to get the full resolution supported by my notebook. (1280×800).

These are steps i followed:

– installed the virtual machine add-ons provided by VirtualBox
– opened the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and added the the resolutions “1280×800” and “1024×768” under the “Screen” section…

So here is how my xorg.conf file looks now…

# xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type “man xorg.conf” at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section “Files”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Generic Keyboard”
Driver “kbd”
Option “CoreKeyboard”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
Option “XkbLayout” “us”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Configured Mouse”
Driver “vboxmouse”
Option “CorePointer”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/mice”
Option “Protocol” “ImPS/2”
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “true”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Synaptics Touchpad”
Driver “synaptics”
Option “Device” “/dev/psaux”
Option “Protocol” “auto-dev”
Option “HorizEdgeScroll” “0”

Section “InputDevice”
Driver “wacom”
Identifier “stylus”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/wacom”
Option “Type” “stylus”
Option “ForceDevice” “ISDV4” # Tablet PC ONLY

Section “InputDevice”
Driver “wacom”
Identifier “eraser”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/wacom”
Option “Type” “eraser”
Option “ForceDevice” “ISDV4” # Tablet PC ONLY

Section “InputDevice”
Driver “wacom”
Identifier “cursor”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/wacom”
Option “Type” “cursor”
Option “ForceDevice” “ISDV4” # Tablet PC ONLY

Section “Device”
Identifier “Generic Video Card”
Driver “vboxvideo”
BusID “PCI:0:2:0”

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “Generic Monitor”
Option “DPMS”

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “Generic Video Card”
Monitor “Generic Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Modes “1280×800” “1024×768” “800×600”

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Default Layout”
Screen “Default Screen”
InputDevice “Generic Keyboard”
InputDevice “Configured Mouse”

# Uncomment if you have a wacom tablet
# InputDevice “stylus” “SendCoreEvents”
# InputDevice “cursor” “SendCoreEvents”
# InputDevice “eraser” “SendCoreEvents”
InputDevice “Synaptics Touchpad”

And the only change i made was here:

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “Generic Video Card”
Monitor “Generic Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Modes “1280×800” “1024×768” “800×600”

I just added “1280×800” “1024×768” under the SubSection “Display”.

Fortunately this worked for me.

(Note: I actually got this information from a VirtualBox forum thread and I sincerely thank the guy who provided this information. Thank you very much really)

Whatmore, if you choose the “Full screen mode” in VirtualBox, you get a feeling of just running ubuntu…

Ya, now i feel, i can slowly leave behind windows xp behind me…

More Ubuntu articles

Convert audio files in Ubuntu with Sound Converter

Convert video files in Ubuntu with FormatFactory


  1. This worked great for me using winXp sp3 – VirtualBox 2.0.4 – Ubuntu 8.10


    Comment by Bob — November 10, 2008 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  2. good post.

    here is yet another good post on the same issue which helped me.


    Comment by nass — November 11, 2008 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

  3. this didn’t work for me. running windows vista, virtualbox, ubuntu studio. i entered into terminal, modified the xorg.conf file under the “screen” section as specified here. i saved the file using nano and overwrote the original xorg.conf file. i even restarted my system twice. xorg.conf shows that the information was saved correctly.

    what am i missing?

    Comment by Ivan — January 13, 2009 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

  4. I used the the guide that nass liked to, but when i was going to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, there were no screen resolutions to edit in the file. I then added the line given on this page into my xorg.conf, restarted and it worked. I can now run Ubuntu in 1920×1200 as guest on a windows XP SP2 host.

    Comment by Emil — February 2, 2009 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks this was the fix i was looking for Andrew 🙂

    Comment by Andrew — April 6, 2009 @ 2:04 am | Reply

  6. it worked wonders in vista / ubuntu jaunty. thanks for the tutorial

    Comment by Gaurav Bansode — July 13, 2009 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  7. Hi! I like your srticle and I would like very much to read some more information on this issue. Will you post some more?

    Comment by forexPath — July 20, 2009 @ 3:45 am | Reply

  8. […] I managed to fix this problem. I’ve narrated about it here. – need add-ons to provide usb […]

    Pingback by MS Virtual PC vs VirutalBox | SolitaryGeek — August 21, 2009 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  9. It didn’t work for me either.
    I have Vista with Vbox 3.x 32 bit running.
    The Guest is RedHat REHL 4.2.1

    My Vbox window is 800×600 and no matter what I do, the RedHat inside will overfill the Vbox window, causing the desktop to slide from side to side inside it, when you mouse around inside the window.

    This effect didn’t start till I loaded the addons. Also the mouse does not point exactly where it should either, and it seems the further your off from X0 & Y0, the worse the error gets.

    Before I loaded the addons, I had a very stable RedHat running, and the mouse pointer was correct.

    I have heard that Vbox supports a host of 32bit and a guest of 64bit, at least that what it says in their instructions. Before I loaded the addons to fix or give me additional video resolutions, I had no issues running in 800×600 resolution.

    The catch is my application is REHL 4.2 64bit only.

    Comment by Nyemaster — October 8, 2009 @ 6:40 pm | Reply

  10. After trying all day, I found out that if I modify the xorg.conf file and add in the missing resoultions BEFORE I load the addons, vBox will cooperate and act more friendly. vBox now loads and runs in 1920×1200 resolution without much effort.

    Because of this our application which uses 3D is very clunky, but I got over the first obstacle by getting it to load and run. I will now work on OpenGL and see if that can be added to help the 3D drawing process.

    Thanks for the input.

    Comment by Nyemaster — October 8, 2009 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  11. god damned smart quotes

    Comment by fuck you — February 17, 2010 @ 4:52 am | Reply

  12. If you were to start your own restaurant, what would it be called?

    Comment by Johnson — April 4, 2010 @ 12:39 am | Reply

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