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

Xdiagnose Ubuntu 14.10

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 <strong>xrandx</strong> 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

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

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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Mario
Mario
5 years ago

Thanks, this works for me! I’m using Ubuntu 16 on Paralels 11.

Wagner
Wagner
5 years ago

It worked for me on Parallels and Ubuntu 16.10!

Anirudh Murali
6 years ago

Parallels 10, Ubuntu 14.04. Worked! But all the icons, text seems to be small, any solution for that? Thanks in advance!

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

This fix worked great for Ubuntu Mate 16.04 on Parallels 12! Thanks a bunch

Matt
Matt
Reply to  Matt
6 years ago

Ubuntu Mate 15.10 on Parallels 12 also

ben
ben
6 years ago

This is still relevant and helped me install Lubuntu 16.04 under Parallels 9 on my lovely 17inch Macbook Pro from 2010.

Leonardo
Leonardo
6 years ago

WOOOOOOW!
THANK YOU!!!! FIRST METHOD WORKED!

Dom
Dom
6 years ago

first method worked fine
thanks

drenzle
drenzle
6 years ago

Worked for me! Thank you!!!

drenzle
drenzle
Reply to  drenzle
6 years ago

Installed xdiagnose and followed the instructions.

Pablo König
Pablo König
6 years ago

Method 1 solved the problem (Ubuntu 14.04 on VB/Win 7). Thanks.

Knutowskie
Knutowskie
6 years ago

first method killed mine to. Landing on BusyBox with (initramfs). Not able to boot. Thx for making it worse.

Setsuki
Setsuki
6 years ago

Thank you !

-coffee-
-coffee-
6 years ago

I had the same problem as R Hampton after following the steps in the article. Afterwards, I installed Guest Additions (actually to have shared clipboard) and screen magically became resizable.

R Hampton
R Hampton
6 years ago

This helped me somewhat. I to went from 640×480 to 1024 x 76. Resizing the window did not adjust resolution. Unbuntu 14.04.3 in VirtualBox 5.0.10 on OS 10.11.2

sistemas7g
6 years ago

thanks, it really help

Sergio
6 years ago

Method 1 work for me, MacOs El capitan, with Paralels 9 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS! But no retina support!

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