Lost Display Settings

Larry Hartman larryhartman50 at bellsouth.net
Mon Feb 5 01:29:28 UTC 2007


This a combination of how the ATI driver works in conjunction with 
the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.  Your screen resolutions are saved in the 
xorg.conf file.  I do not know of any way to change this file "on the fly" 
without restarting something and/or using SUDO/ROOT.  If someone has come up 
with a way to do this, I would be very interested.  I have fiddled with the 
ATI control panel and determined that it was nearly useless.

On occassion I use my laptop with my S-Video port to TV or VGA port to 
overhead projector as a second monitor in the ATI Big Desktop mode. You can 
set Big Desktop to either clone your primary monitor, or provide an extension 
to it off of any of the four sides (up, down, left, right).  I use it as an 
extension that turns my 1440x900 single monitor desktop to 2048x768 dual 
monitor desktop. I use Big Desktop in conjunction with Open Office 2.1 
Impress: the latest release allows projecting slideshows on a secondary 
monitor.  This works out very nicely.

I have two backups of my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.  One is for single monitor, 
the other for ATI Big Desktop.  When I wish to use the Big Desktop, I plug in 
my secondary monitor, then copy this backup file over the /etc/X11/xorg.conf 
file.  Then I restart X with CTRL-ALT-Backspace.  The copy procedure has to 
be done as SUDO or ROOT.  When I am done with dual monitor, I copy the single 
monitor backup file over the xorg.conf in the same manner, unplug my 
secondary, and restart X.  One day I will learn how to make a script so that 
I won't need to do the software manipulation manually.  

SPECIAL CAUTION: The xorg.conf file can get you into some troubles that will 
send you back to command line driven Linux if you don't take care to set it 
up properly.

Check out this website (follow instructions for ATI Big Desktop):


On Sunday 04 February 2007, John Durant wrote:
> Hi,
> After installing Edgy on a Compaq lap with an ati video chipset all
> video settings were lost. Scenario went like this:
> - Installed Edgy on laptop with CRT attached. Default resolution set at
> 1400x1050. After some font sizing adjustments display looked superb.
> - With lid on laptop closed disconnected the monitor to use it with
> machine2, also a laptop. Machine2 runs XP SP2 at 1024x768
> - Disconnected from machine2, reconnected to Edgy machine.
> - Screen resolution went to 640x400 or thereabouts. System would not
> allow resetting of display options from Systems Settings,
> - Reinstalled Edgy. Again resolution back to 1400x1050, the preferred
> setting
> Question:
> I understand it is probably not a best practice to unplug a monitor
> while the machine is running. That being considered, can these display
> settings be edited or backed up in case this situation should arise
> again? Have checked man pages for xinit and couldn't find this information.
> Thanks,
> John

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