Setting screen resolution

I’ve been fiddling with a screen problem on a friend’s Ubuntu 12.04 PC and a borrowed screen and managed to alter the screen resolution such that I can no longer reach off-screen buttons – including the Settings screen, which I can’t move up far enough.
Browsing Ubuntu help pages I found the xrandr command which looked useful, at least for a session, but to no avail. Here are the outputs:

lorene@desktop-00:~$ xrandr
xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 240, current 720 x 576, maximum 856 x 600
default connected 720x576+0+0 0mm x 0mm
800x600 60.0 56.0
768x576 60.0
720x576 60.0*
856x480 60.0
800x480 60.0
720x480 61.0
640x480 60.0
512x384 60.0
400x300 60.0
320x240 61.0
856x600 60.0

lorene@desktop-00:~$ xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 856x600 --rate 60
xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default
warning: output VGA1 not found; ignoring

I would be grateful if one of our mentors could offer some advice.

xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default Screen 0: minimum 320 x 240, current 720 x 576, maximum 856 x 600 [b]default[/b] connected 720x576+0+0 0mm x 0mm

Seems xrandr is seeing the output as “default” not “VGA1” … so try:

xrandr --output default --mode 856x600 --rate 60

Hi Mark.
The somewhat discouraging response to the command is: xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default

What’s the output from:

sudo lshw -C display

and is there any output from:

ls -al /etc/X11/xorg.conf

sudo lshw -C display
“lorene is not in the sudoers file”

So I went into my super-user account (which does have the correct screen resolution) to change Lorene’s status but couldn’t find a way to change it in the settings/users.
Back to Lorene’s account:
ls -al /etc/X11/xorg.conf
“Cannot access /etc/X11/xorg.conf: No such file or directory”

If this is becoming too tedious, Mark, then I am quite happy to wipe Lorene’s account and re-create it, as she has a PC to be going on with. Let me know.


Is the weird graphics resolution only happening in Lorene’s account ?

You can send the output from your account.

Do you WANT to add Lorene to the sudo group (giving her admin privileges) or not ?

Yep: the weird screen resolution appears to be affecting only Lorene’s account, which is why I thought I needed to make her an administrator (not that she would know) in order to correct things. So no, I don’t need her to be upgraded if it’s not necessary.

The output from my account is:
user00@desktop-00:~$ sudo lshw -C display
[sudo] password for user00:
*-display UNCLAIMED
description: VGA compatible controller
product: 630/730 PCI/AGP VGA Display Adapter
vendor: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS]
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
version: 31
width: 32 bits
clock: 66MHz
capabilities: pm agp agp-2.0 vga_controller cap_list
configuration: latency=0
resources: memory:d0000000-d7ffffff memory:dd400000-dd41ffff ioport:d000(size=128)
user00@desktop-00:~$ ls -al /etc/X11/xorg.conf
ls: cannot access /etc/X11/xorg.conf: No such file or directory

Is the “unclaimed” display a clue?

We could spend forever going though the user config files … As you suggested earlier it may be easier to just create another user account, and if that one doesn’t glitch just transfer her user files from the old home to the new one.


If you want to carry on trying to fix this account … post the contents of:

gedit /home/lorene/.xsession-errors


ls -al /home/lorene/.Xauthority

you can do this from your account.

Can you also post the output from:


from your account

You have been very patient Mark, but I think it would be easiest all round to recreate the account.
I am sorry to have taken up so much of your time.
My thanks, as always, for your generous assistance.


As I tell everyone (and it’s the truth) … I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t enjoy it, so you’re not “taking up my time”, I’m happy to do it whichever way suits you :wink:

I only mentioned creating a new account for 2 reasons

  1. to check that worked … would tell us if it’s juust the “lorene” account that’s playing up or if it’s all non admin accounts.


  1. as it may save YOU some time.

I’m easy either way my friend :slight_smile:

You’re a gent - and there are few of us left! :wink:
It’s my admin day tomorrow so shall recreate the account on Friday and report the result.

'Bye for now.

Oeky dokey, sounds like a plan to me … good luck, and please let us know how it goes :slight_smile:

Well, this is embarrassing! Switched on this morning and screen resolution in Lorene’s account was at max.
So the moral of this tale is: “Try switching off and on again”. Now where have I heard that before?
As usual I have to apologise for taking up your time, but all is not wasted as I do learn a few tricks and tips and manage to solve an increasing number of my problems unaided - but you don’t get to hear about those.

This particular PC is incredibly slow (1998 vintage) with max 1GB memory and small cache, and always seem to run with 100% CPU being used. This sounds like a good candidate for Mint - do you think?

With thanks and apologies,

Peppermint rather than Mint, but even that is a bit iffy…
What CPU does it have?

Mint as opposed to what ?

I’m not opposed to anything, really, as long as it’s not “iffy”. I am not familiar with the characteristics of Linux flavours but was advised to put Peppermint 3 on my non-pae Dell, partly also for it’s smaller size c.f. Ubuntu. And I like it.
Why Mint? No particular reason,except for the fact that I was able to install the ISO directly to a USB stick via Unetbootin (I am having trouble with DVD writing, but that’s another problem).
CPU data:
description: CPU
product: AMD Athlon™ processor
vendor: Hynix Semiconductor (Hyundai Electronics)
physical id: 4
bus info: cpu@0
version: 6.4.2
slot: Socket A
size: 1100MHz
capacity: 1200MHz
width: 32 bits
clock: 100MHz
capabilities: fpu fpu_exception wp vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr syscall mmxext 3dnowext 3dnow up

System monitor tells me that I have Kernel Linux 3.2.0-65generic-pae, which looks promising.
Your advice, as always would be welcome.

Personally I’d go with Peppermint 5, but if you prefer Mint and it runs as expected…

Peppermint it is then!
But just out of interest, would you tell me the reason for your preference?
I ask out of plain curiosity. People tell me I’m curious, but I have a feeling they mean something else.

Simple … Peppermint 5 and Mint 17 are both based on an LTS release, so will be supported for ages.


Peppermint 5’s LXDE desktop environment is much lighter than Mints Mate/Cinnamon, so fits older hardware better.

You may have to install some software in Peppermint that would have already been installed in Mint … such as LibreOffice, etc. … but it should be quicker on that hardware.

Simple when you know how, young man! And thank you for the details.
Peppermint 5 it is then. Is that PAE or non-PAE? I ask as my Dell is non-PAE (runs Peppermint 3) and it would be useful to be running the same s/w as Lorene.