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Monitor Resolution Problem

Discussion in 'Debian GNU/Linux' started by Terry Mester, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    I have managed to successfully install Debian on a Partition on my IBM Pentium 4 via Installation CD. (Note to programmers: add to the Installation Help Box that Linux cannot be installed on a Partition created by Microsoft Windows. You have to delete & reformat that MS Partition using Linux. This won't affect the MS Windows already installed on the other Partition.) However, once I run Debian from the Boot Menu my SVGA Monitor goes haywire. I can tell this is because Debian's default video resolution is set too high. I have no Monitor problems with the Boot Menu, Command Prompt nor the Installation CD. (The MS Windows Installation starts you off at the low resolution to avoid this problem.) Is there any way to lower the video resolution via the Boot File? If not I'll be unable to use Debian. :(


     
  2. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    Hi Terry & a belated welcome to linux.org :)

    I have to hit the sack in a minute, but your info above sounds like you have a visible Grub Menu, from dualbooting?

    When your Debian is chosen on the list there will be an option to type "c" for command, this will show at bottom of screen.

    Do that and you will be taken to a black screen with a white prompt saying "grub".

    Type in and enter one of the following:

    Code:
    videoinfo
    
    or
    
    vbeinfo
    The latter is for older computers, the first one is for newer.

    Output will be produced and it will show video resolutions, and one may be asterisked.

    If you can give us all those numbers, or take a clear picture, we can work from there.

    Cheers

    Chris Turner
    wizardfromoz
     
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  3. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    I'm not sure you are correct about this. My guess as to what you mean by "haywire" is that you are seeing Debian do an "auto-probe" or "auto-detect" of your monitor at each startup. I suspect that when it finally boots that it remains at the resolution that you set for it.... correct? The auto-detection is not harmful and should only last a few seconds, but it isn't pretty to watch. I'll also try to look around for possible solutions to mask it or make it stop.

    Cheers
     
  4. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for your welcome. I wish I had started converting to Linux before I suffered the 'Windows Bluescreen' horror in December which left my original Hard Drive inaccessible.

    That's correct; at startup I have the Grub Menu to select to boot from either Debian or Debian Recovery or MS Windows XP. (This is an older 20GB Hard Drive.)

    Prior to my original Post I had gone to the Command Menu, and used the 'videoinfo' & 'vbeinfo' Commands. The video driver it listed for the Monitor appears to be built into the Computer, and the asterisk was beside the lowest resolution of about 600x450. (I think my Monitor can handle up to about 1000x750.) I couldn't find any Command for changing the Resolution.

    Hi Atanere,
    I do recognize the auto-detect you're referring to. However, the problem occurs after that finishes. The screen image repeats and overlaps about eight times. I had this same problem when I originally bought the Computer with MS Windows installed. The store who sold it had to lower the resolution for me on their Monitor. If there is a Linux Command for changing the resolution I should be able to manage logging in, and entering it without being able to see what I'm typing on the Screen. I've been reviewing the Commands, but can't find one to set resolution.
     
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  5. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    Good morning Terry, I am just about to grab my 2nd coffee (4 makes me human, ask anyone here) so this a brief holding post.

    I am going to swing over to Debian and check my syntax is correct, and then ask you to check the effect or not of a command called

    Code:
    nomodeset
    which you can insert following the words "quiet splash" at the Grub menu by choosing to edit the startup commands.

    Depending on the efficacy of that action, we may or may not also look at a command called

    Code:
    xrandr
    which is useful for monkeying with screen resolutions as well as the placement of monitors in a dual monitor/display situation.

    xrandr does not run from startup, I don't think but rather when our X session starts which is after login, but I will check.

    Back soon

    Wizard
     
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  6. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Okay, I understand your definition of "haywire" better now. :D Wizard is an awesome troubleshooter, and I'm in between sleeping and working 12-hr midnight shifts, so I won't try to dig in too far. But, I would ask this: Can you see well enough in those eight overlapping screens to click on the start button and run some applications? Or is everything too small? I'm not sure about a command line instruction offhand, but there will be an app for "display properties" in Debian that allows you to change the screen resolution. But it may be very hard to see and use that in your current situation.
     
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  7. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    Terry, do you know which DE (Desktop Environment) of Debian you are using, eg Cinnamon, MATE, GNOME &c?

    The method Stan (@atanere ) is talking about would involve going, on the desktop, to the Menu and finding your System Settings or Control Centre and firing it up, then clicking Display, and in there, get a list of the supported resolutions and change it. Then reboot and see if you get a good view.

    That would likely be the simplest. The other two methods I can think of involve getting exact output from that videoinfo command you issued

    ... doesn't quite cut it, sorry :D

    For example, I have a Toshiba Satellite lappie, and from videoinfo at startup, I get

    1600 x 900 *
    640 x 480
    800 x 600 and
    1024 x 768

    I am running Debian 9.3 'Stretch' 64-bit with the Cinnamon DE.

    My Display figures look as per the following screenshot:

    [​IMG]

    SCREENSHOT 1 - Resolutions from Display under Settings

    ... as you can see, 11 instead of just 4.

    But wait, there's more :D

    If I go to Terminal and type in just xrandr, I get (click the spoiler, and click again when finished if you wish)

    [email protected]:~$ xrandr
    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1600 x 900, maximum 8192 x 8192
    eDP-1 connected primary 1600x900+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 382mm x 215mm
    1600x900 60.00*+
    1440x900 59.89
    1360x768 59.80 59.96
    1152x864 60.00
    1024x768 60.04 60.00
    960x720 60.00
    928x696 60.05
    896x672 60.01
    960x600 60.00
    960x540 59.99
    800x600 60.00 60.32 56.25
    840x525 60.01 59.88
    800x512 60.17
    700x525 59.98
    640x512 60.02
    720x450 59.89
    640x480 60.00 59.94
    680x384 59.80 59.96
    576x432 60.06
    512x384 60.00
    400x300 60.32 56.34
    320x240 60.05
    VGA-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    HDMI-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    [email protected]:~$

    Confused? Can't say as I blame you :rolleyes:. A part of it is to do with the resolutions that your Graphics Processor (video card) supports, as opposed to what your Monitor or Screen supports. Sometimes two of them are the same, most often, not. Hardware constraints imposed by Manufacturers, not Linux.

    So these are my suggestions:

    METHOD 1

    At startup, on your Grub Menu, press 'e' to edit commands.

    You will get (likely) a bordered screen with maybe 10 to 12 lines in it. Use your direction keys to move to the line near or at the bottom that includes the words "quiet splash". Insert a space and enter "nomodeset" and then follow the tips at the bottom to exit and boot, could be Ctrl-x or F10 or similar.

    If that works you may get a message at your desktop similar to what I get on Cinnamon

    [​IMG]

    Screenshot 2 - Rendering Mode - Cinnamon

    That's only a warning that you can x out of, or it may disappear after a time.

    While Debian is running in this mode, you will have no other options under Display than the resolution you are running, but it will at least help you to see if your graphics environment is working.

    When you reboot, the nomodeset option at startup will disappear from your startup options.


    METHOD 2

    Simply try Stan's method above.


    METHOD 3

    ... involves getting into Terminal (not sure if it is Ctrl-Alt-t under Debian, I always set it up that way), and there, armed with some exact resolutions, we can use the xrandr command, but it may be complicated if you have to type it blind, so


    METHOD 4

    ... might be better, and this would involve loading your installation DVD, going to its Terminal and using a process called

    Code:
    chroot
    ... to get into your hard drive's install and run the xrandr commands from a visible environment.

    Have a think about these, and a try perhaps of Methods 1 and/or 2, and we'll see how we go.

    Cheers

    Wizard
     
    #7 wizardfromoz, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  8. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    Thanks again Chris and Stan. I'll try these methods when I get home.

    I'll check, but I think it's Debian GNU or GNOME.

    The Video Driver in the Microchip is set at 640x480. I'll check the Manual to see the maximum resolution the Monitor can handle. However, the Debian CD and Boot / Grub Menu appears to be 800x600, and has no problems.

    P. S. I'm logging in here from my brother's house -- so I may not be able to reply back for a couple days. I'll let you know what happens. o_O Thanks!
     
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  9. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    That would be GNOME, then, likely, Terry. GNU is a term relating to eg GNU-Linux, and licences (more complicated, but I won't bore you now).

    You take your time, we are in no hurry.

    Enjoy

    Wiz
     
  10. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    I don't think we're using the same version of Debian. I have Debian GNU / Linux 4.9.0 - 4 - 686 - pae with GRUB Version 2.02 beta 3-5 -- which is the current version available on debian.org. There was no 'quiet splash' line in the Boot File. I added the 'quiet splash nomodeset' line which produced an invalid command error upon booting up. The 'xrandr' command also comes back as invalid in the Grub Command mode.

    It appears that this Screen Resolution problem is a Bug in the current Linux Programme.
     
  11. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    This description shows up when you boot on the Debian CD/DVD and in the GRUB menu, but it is a bit of a fooler because it is not telling you the Debian version... 4.9.0-4-686-pae is actually referring to the Linux kernel. You are almost certainly using Debian 9 (codename "Stretch"). You probably have a bit of a point-release update too, maybe Debian 9.2 or 9.3 (the latest).

    I'm currently installing Debian 9.1 to dual-boot with another Linux, so maybe I can follow along better with your GRUB menu. The settings for "quiet" and "splash" are very common, so I'm not sure you've looked in the right place for them.
    [Edit: In my Debian install, "quiet" is there, but "splash" is not . Will go into more detail later.]

    The other command, "xrandr" is not a GRUB boot command, as it tells you. Xrandr needs to be run from a terminal once Debian is started up and running.... and we're not sure if you will be able to see that with your resolution problem, just like we're not sure if you can see the graphical "Display" app that will let you change the resolution. I think what Wizard is hoping for here is that we can get you to boot into Debian with the bad resolution, and if needed, we may can talk you through some careful steps to correct the resolution.... even if you are unable to see the details on your screen. Walking through blindly needs careful attention to be successful, if we can find/describe a way for you to do this.

    Will so some more checking to see if GRUB will allow some video settings to be specified. It may be that re-installing Debian or another distro will be necessary, but I think it is possible to fix what you have right now.

    Back soon. Cheers.
     
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  12. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    By all means, try this. What you tried earlier needed you to enter "c" at the GRUB screen for a command prompt, but this step needs you to enter "e" instead to "edit" the GRUB configuration. On the edit screen, down near the bottom (3rd from the bottom on mine) the line begins with "linux (many spaces) /boot/vmlinuz...." until out at the far right of this line mine shows "ro quiet". As Wizard described, use the arrow keys to navigate to that line, and insert a space after "quiet" and then type in nomodeset. Then hit Ctrl-X or F10 to boot with that option. It may or may not help, but it's worth a shot.
     
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  13. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    And another possibility.... reboot to your GRUB screen, and like above, go into the GRUB "edit" screen, and at the same location as where you entered nomodeset, this time enter in vga=792, and then Ctrl-X or F10 to reboot. If successful, this will set your display to 1024x768.

    Let us know if either of these options have any helpful effect for you.

    Cheers
     
  14. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    I found the word "quiet" near the bottom of the edit screen, and I added "splash", "nomodeset" and "vga=792" in all possible combinations. None of these solved the problem, and in some cases made it worse. It is a very bad idea for an Operating System to attempt to set the Screen Resolution each time it boots up. The Resolution only needs to be manually set once when the OS is first installed.
     
  15. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    Hi Terry, I am going to be away for 2 weeks commencing Wednesday my time, Tuesday afternoon/evening US time, so I'll try to get some good work in in
    between.

    First up, you seriously need to give me from the output of "videoinfo" or "vbeinfo" the exact resolutions supported for your monitor, all of them, please. I mentioned this at my Post at #7 around 6 March.

    Thanks

    Wizard
     
  16. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    The 'videoinfo' Command provides data for the "VESA BIOS Extension Video Driver". It lists Resolutions 1920x1440, 1600x1200, 1280x1024, 1024x768, 800x600, and 640x480. It is set at 640x480. The manual for my Ultra VGA Monitor says that it can handle Resolutions up to 1024x768.
     
  17. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    @Terry Mester

    Hi Terry, I am just back from a gruelling 4,000 km road trip, and I see this thread has gone no further. :(

    While I was away, I had only a little internet access, but I was able to develop a working solution for your Debian. If you still have it and wish to use it, I can elaborate. If that is the case, you would just need to download an .iso for another Linux Distro (a Linux Mint MATE or an Ubuntu MATE would be easy) and burn it to a bootable USB/DVD medium.

    Let us know what your "druther" is (I'd rather this, I'd rather that, lol), or if you have gone to another Distro and how did you fare?

    Cheers

    Chris Turner
    wizardfromoz
     
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  18. Terry Mester

    Terry Mester New Member

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    I want to thank you Chris and Stan for all your efforts to help solve my problem. Unfortunately I was forced to re-format my Drive, and delete Debian from my system. I have now installed the FreeBSD Operating System which is working for me so far. (It uses the BIOS default resolution unless you manually set it higher.) Since my High School Computers had used a UNIX OS I'm already familiar with this type of OS. Thanks again to you both.
     
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  19. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Super Moderator
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    @Terry Mester Well that is good news and bad news, Terry :) and thanks for the heads up.

    I haven't used the Berkeley products (yet) but they get good reports. We have a few Members here whom do, so if you encounter any problems, by all means check here amongst your travels, and maybe you can pen us a thread about your adventures with FreeBSD, I am sure many will be interested?

    @atanere - Stan or other Staff, I'd like an opportunity to use this Thread to elaborate on the solution/workaround I found, as it may assist others whom find themselves in the OP's predicament (& also Terry, should he choose at a later date to try a Linux again).

    Just give me a green flag and I'll go ahead in the next few days? :D:D (Yeah, I know, any excuse for Wizard to spruke on). It is based on Debian, but can easily be applied across other Distros and Families.

    Happy Travels, Terry, and enjoy your FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). ;)

    Chris Turner
    wizardfromoz
     
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  20. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hey Terry, glad you've got a working system... that's the main thing. I'm a fan of Debian too, but it is not always the easiest to get stuff configured and working correctly.

    By all means, Wizard... go for it! Your advice is sure to be on-topic, and it may well be helpful for Terry, or others.

    Cheers
     
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