Tutorials/Tips, Ubuntu

Solutions for low screen resolution in Ubuntu 14.04/14.10 and VirtualBox

This article was originally posted on the forum.

On my test installations of Ubuntu 14.04 in VirtualBox, I had to figure out how to deal with a situation where the highest screen resolution I could get was 640 x 480. And it was not just with Ubuntu 14.04, but also with Kubuntu 14.04.

UPDATE: This also applies to Ubuntu 14.10.

This image shows the output of the xrandx command.
Output of xrandx Ubuntu 14.04

Here’s what it looks like from the Display module of System Settings. That’s not good. I found that there are two solutions to the problem.
System Settings Ubuntu 14.04

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1. Use Xdiagnose From the Dash, search for and launch Xdiagnose, then enable all the options under the Debug section. Click the Apply button, then close the window and restart the system. You’ll have to restart. Logging out, then in won’t do.
Xdiagnose Ubuntu 14.10

2. Additional Drivers Also from the Dash, search for and start Software Updates. Click on the Additional Drivers tab, then click on the Using x86 virtualization solution…. Apply the changes, then restart the machine.
Additional Drivers Ubuntu 14.04

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With either solution, the system should reboot in 1024 x 768 screen resolution. And you should be able to expand the window simply by dragging it. If you run the xrandx command again, the output should be just like the one shown in this image:
xrandx Ubuntu 14.04

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65 Comments

  1. First one broke Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

    Second one was unavailable

  2. Method 1 worked! thanks so much!

  3. Killed my virtualbox running the latest ubuntu 🙁

  4. Thank you! This fixed my problem.

  5. Broke my VM ( https://imgur.com/RYiMu91 ), had to start from scratch.

  6. Step 1 worked perfect! Had tried many other ‘solutions’. Thanks!

  7. Hey My ubuntu is dualboot with 8.1, and when i did the step 1 and reboot, and then choose ubuntu, the screen was black and texts running in it. and then the text ask me to log in. And before i finished log in it start to black screen with a blinking strip. What should i do??

  8. Peter Fales

    Thanks for the suggestion. I tried both options (both alone and together) and they both got me to 1024×768 (which is a huge improvement over 640×480) no larger than that. (In the note, it shows the xrandr output saying “maximum 16384 x 16384.” Mine says “maximum 1024 x 768.” Is there anything else to try?

  9. This unfortunately destroyed my virtual machine with the latest Ubuntu on it – garbled output, totally unusable.

  10. you saved me , thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu method 1 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  11. It (the 1st solution) works 🙂
    Thank you for your brilliant solution!

  12. Thank you very much. It is very useful.

  13. Chris Duguid

    Thanks for the solution. Easy when someone else does the hard work :). +1

  14. Years since my last comment on a forum, but I had to thank you about this post. You saved me!

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