Ubuntu Bootup Resolution Problem

November 4, 2007 | By Naman Bagga | Filed in: Linux.

Ubuntu has some problems associated with it but there isn’t any problem which can’t be solved.The configuration files are really easy to edit and can be edited by just using a simple text editor.This is something I like about Linux.

I recently installed Ubuntu 7.10(Gutsy Gibbon) on my PC and faced a problem which is quite widespread and probably will be faced by many of you.While booting up and during shut-down the screen resolution was too high for my Compaq MV540 monitor which does not support 1280 X 1024 resolution.The monitor displayed an ‘Out of frequency range’ error.Don’t worry if you have the same problem with your Monitor.

There is a simple 3 step process to solve this problem-

  1. Type ‘sudo gedit /etc/usplash.conf’ or ‘sudo nano /etc/usplash.conf’ to edit the file-‘usplash.conf’.It will look like this-

    # Usplash configuration file

    You have to change 1280 to 1024 in the x resolution and 1024 to 768 in the y resolution

  2. Step 1 should solve the shut-down problem.To solve the start-up problem,you need to follow step2 and step3.Now edit /boot/grub/menu.lst by typing ‘sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst’ or ‘sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst’ .In this file reach the line

    ## ## End Default Options ##

    By default the next paragraph will have the boot information for the option you choose while booting up.It will say something like-

    title Ubuntu 7.10, kernel 2.6.22-14-generic
    root (hd0,9)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=UUID=ebddbc03-0e71-41dd-babd-278109f26a95 ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

    At the end of the line next to kernel,next to splash add ‘vga=791’.791 is the code for 1024X768 resolution in 16 Bits.What this does is that it changes the screen resolution of all following steps but not of the xserver.You can select any other resolution which your monitor is comfortable with.
    Here are some typical values for some screen resolutions-

  3. Colours   640x400 640x480 800x600 1024x768 1152x864 1280x1024 1600x1200
    4 bits  |    ?       ?      770       ?        ?        ?         ?
    8 bits  |   768     769     771      773      353      775       796
    15 bits |    ?      784     787      790      354      793       797
    16 bits |    ?      758     788      791      355      794       798
    24 bits |    ?      786     789      792       ?       795       799
    32 bits |    ?       ?       ?        ?       356       ?

  4. The third step is a copy and paste step.In this step,you need to execute a command to update the settings and generate a new usplash image of the resolution you selected.Execute this command in a terminal window-

    sudo update-initramfs -u -k `uname -r`

    You can also try this(it’s the same thing written differently but it is applicable only for the default Ubuntu usplash theme)-

    sudo update-usplash-theme usplash-theme-ubuntu

    Reboot your computer now and I’m sure you’ll be able to see the orange Startup splash screen without any trouble now.

I hope this post helped you to solve your problems.If your problem still persists,visit a good Linux forum like LQ or Ubuntu Forums.You can also try downloading StartUp-Manager from the synaptic or from here if you don’t like editing files manually.

PS-If you update your kernel,you might face the problem again.Visit the part 2 of this problem to prevent this from happening again.

20 comments on “Ubuntu Bootup Resolution Problem

  1. @scott: This is not a bug in Gutsy.It’s just that Ubuntu 7.10 is designed in this way.The usplash screen at startup and shutdown was meant to have a 1280X1024 resolution.

    This error is observed only with a little old monitors which don’t support 1280X1024 resolution.

    What I described is a standard method to change the boot-up and shutdown resolution.

  2. My system still comes up (sometimes) with a “virtual” res set higher than my 1024×768. I rechecked everything above and still it comes up wonky.

    Plus when my CRT is set correctly to 1024×768 and at 75Hz, the settings dialogs do not reflect the 75Hz setting that my monitor verifies. There at numerous choices from 50 to 70 Hz and they do not set to those numbers if you try them.

    Detect does not work and I’ve set it to monitor 1024×768.

    What’s the solution?

  3. Hey man, nice try but it didn’t work for my issue. Geeeeez in the end I’m going to have to reformat and re-install, is there no way to just put fresh files where necessary?

  4. @Anonymous and tahitiwibble:Did you try using SUM i.e. start-up manager?

    I hope you understand what the solution described above do.This is a procedure to change the screen resolution at the time of start-up and shut-down and it won’t solve problems related to the X-server

  5. Didn’t work for me – I got this:

    WARNING: /boot is ro mounted.
    update-initramfs: Not updating /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-14-generic

    Anything I’ve missed?

  6. Further to last comment, this seems to be a wubi thing – the boot folder is actually in the winxp filespace. Ubuntu doesn’t allow the read only permission to be changed, even after changing it in winxp.

    However, the procedure did work on another machine which has suffered the problem since breezy! And that one has a 1280×1024 display so it should have been working in the first place. I set it to 791 and 1024×768 to get it working.

    Thanks for documenting this.

  7. It isn’t a 1280×1024 issue! My display supports 1280×1024, but only up to 70Hz. So it’s the overall pixel rate which is too high… please make max 1280x1024x60Hz to make it more compatible.

    Anyone know how keep 1280×1024 and just change the vert refresh rate to 60 or 70Hz?

  8. @Anon:You can still try this because-

    1.Your monitor will definitely support the refresh rate at 1024X768

    2.The usplash image will always look the same whether you view it in 800X600 or in 1024X768.You won’t be able to tell the difference until you stretch it .

    3.I’m talking about the resolution of the bootsplash screen so when your computer or rather x-server starts up the resolution will be 1280X1024

  9. ok, maybe i am dumb but how can you go to terminal if you cannot log in to the system. In my case when i choose ubuntu from grub, the message “out of range” appears and the system hangs immediately, therefore, i cannot do anything to access the terminal. Can you suggest any solution ?

    • Try waiting for a while. It might appear as if the system hangs but it might not be the case. You might get a login window if you wait for a while.

      And its perfectly fine if your knowledge isn’t too great. There’s no need to feel shy or inferior πŸ™‚ You are an equally important part of the Ubuntu community.

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