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Ubuntu 10.04 Fixing the Monitor Resolution with xrandr

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My laptop is running Ubuntu 10.04 and I have an LCD monitor connected to it. I recently changed the LCD monitor from NEC to Samsung. When I booted up Ubuntu, the LCD monitor was stuck at the 1024 x 768 resolution and the optimal resolution 1280 x 1024 was not provided as an option. I didn’t have this problem with the previous NEC LCD monitor which Ubuntu detected automatically and displayed the correct resolution.

I tried to change the monitor resolution with System> Administration> Multiple Screens and also with System> Preferences> Monitors but neither worked. I could not get the monitor to display the correct resolution.

I found an article at ubuntugeek about how to add a monitor resolution with xrandr.

1. Go to Applications> Accessories> Terminal and type



2. You will get an output of the display(s) connected to your computer and the supported resolutions.

LVDS1 is the laptop screen and VGA1 is the LCD monitor. Under VGA1, there is no entry for the 1280×1024 resolution. So I have to retrieve the settings for the 1280×1024 resolution and add it to the list.

2. To get the settings for the 1280×1024 resolution, type the following at the terminal window

cvt 1280 1024


You’ll get the following output.

Highlight and copy everything after Modeline. (Unfortunately ctrl-c does not work so you have to right-click and select Copy.)

3. Then type

xrandr --newmode "1280x1024_60.00"  109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync

^ You are pasting here what you copied in step 2. Remember to right-click and select Paste.

then type

xrandr --addmode VGA1 1280x1024_60.00


and then

xrandr --output VGA1 --mode 1280x1024_60.00


The LCD monitor should now be set to the correct resolution.

4. Unfortunately, the monitor settings only apply to the current session. If you reboot, the setting will be lost. To make them permanent, type

gksudo gedit /etc/gdm/Init/Default


Look for


and type the following and save.

xrandr –newmode “1280x1024_60.00” 109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync
xrandr –addmode VGA1 1280x1024_60.00
xrandr –output VGA1 –mode 1280x1024_60.00

It worked for me I hope it works for you. The original information was from a post on


Written by newtoubuntu

July 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in how to

Tagged with ,

8 Responses

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  1. There is an error; You forgot the last step in #3, which is

    $ xrandr –output VGA1 –mode 1024x768_60.00

    With that point, it solved my problem also. Thanks!


    August 6, 2010 at 11:58 am

  2. I’m trying to set the screen resolution to 1280×800 but on the last command i get this response –

    “screen cannot be larger than 800×600 (desired size 1280×800)”

    Any ideas? My ubuntu 10.04 install is running on a VM under Windows 7 Pro.

    Thanks in advance,



    September 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  3. THANK YOU!!!!!! only clear post on the web.. GRACIAS!!!


    April 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

  4. Thank you very very mutch :D:D:D:D:D >:D:D<

    Zsolt Keresztes

    June 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

  5. I have been trying to find a working tutorial with Linux Mint 11 and I came up with yours. Very clear and an elegant tutorial. Thank you for your effort! It worked for me too 🙂 My laptop resolution is 1280×800 and my LCD’s resolution is 1920×1080. When I configure the monitors side-by-side everything slows down but when I put them top-bottom or bottom-top it works fine. What causes this problem and is there a solution for this issue? Thanks in advance for your time 🙂


    September 18, 2011 at 2:21 am

  6. […] able to force the resolution to 1280 x 1024 using the xrandr command as per these instructions, but there are two issues […]

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