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The Book of Vmware - The Complete Guide to Vmware Workstation

The Book of Vmware - The Complete Guide to Vmware Workstation

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Published by Tan Jason

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Published by: Tan Jason on May 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Find out which X server you’re running. Depending on your system, one of these commands should show it to

ls −l /etc/X11/X
ls −l /etc/X
ls −l /usr/X11R6/bin/X
cat /etc/X11/Xserver

The output from one of these commands should contain something like this:


In this particular case, we’re using the SVGA driver. Skip down to the end of the XF86Config file and look
for a section that begins with these lines (be careful; there may be several that look alike):

Section "Screen"
Driver "SVGA"
Device "Primary Card"
Monitor "Primary Monitor"
DefaultColorDepth 32

The definitions for Primary Card and Primary Monitor appear earlier in the XF86Config file. The
DefaultColorDepth value is your bit depth and should be set as high as possible. If you don’t see this property
in this section, it’s likely that your display is running in 8−bit mode (and as a result, your colors won’t look so
great, especially on your web browser). If you want to change this, change the DefaultColorDepth line (or add
it if it’s missing), go down a little in the section, and look for a subsection like this:

SubSection "Display"
Depth 8
Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768"



Let’s say you want to go from 8 bits to 24 bits. First, check to see if a similar subsection appears with 24
instead of the 8. If so, you shouldn’t need to do anything; if not, copy the 8−bit subsection and change the 8 to
24 in the copy.

Now, verify that the resolutions on the Modes line are what you want. The first is the initial mode, and you
normally want to set it to the highest value. If all of your desired resolutions don’t appear (or you’re otherwise
unhappy with them), you can’t just add modes and expect them to show up—you need to go up to a Monitor
section. In the case here, the monitor has the Primary Monitor label, so go back in XF86Config file and look
for a section that starts with these two lines:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Primary Monitor"

There are two lines in this section that define the monitor’s capabilities:

HorizSync 30−94
VertRefresh 48−160

These must match your monitor’s horizontal and vertical scan frequency ranges. This information should be in
your monitor’s manual, but if it isn’t, the vendor frequently has the information online. Assuming that these
settings are correct, look for the actual video mode definition line, which looks like this:

Modeline "1280x1024" 157.50 1280 1360 1520 1728 1024 1025 1028 1072

Or you may find a more verbose version:

Mode "1280x1024"
DotClock 157.50
HTimings 1280 1360 1520 1728
VTimings 1024 1025 1028 1072


Any mode that you want to place in the Display subsection just described must have a Modeline or Mode
definition in the Monitor section. The numbers are precise timings, and you can’t randomly guess them. There
was a time when you had to calculate these by hand for each video card and monitor (and you ran a risk of
destroying your monitor if you got it wrong!), but display technology has improved somewhat since then.
Your XF86Config file may already have a number of timing sets for each mode—some X configuration
programs provide these. In that case, all you need to do is pick out the ones that you like and see if they work.
Otherwise, you can search for some VESA standard display modes. Most monitors work well with these,
unless the timings are outside of the monitor’s capabilities.

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