How to reconfigure your display the easy way!

Believe it or not, sometimes the display will die on your Linux operating system. You probably have no control over this…..Time to move on and fix the issue without spending hours on Google searching for a half-baked how-to.

If you are in the process of implementing this article on a broken system, chances are that you see a black screen with text. Please follow these steps so that you can get the pretty colors back!

Step 1: Login.

Step 2: Ensure the graphical daemons are not running.

service gdm stop

service kdm stop

Step 3: Run this command:   X -configure

(This will create the following file in your directory:

Step 4: Copy the configuration file to the right place.

mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Step 5: Restart the display.

service gdm start (for GNOME users.)


service kdm start (for KDE users)


startx (for everyone else, the elite)

Step 6: If you are still having problems……

Repeat Steps 1 – 4.

We will change the driver to vesa. Vesa is a generic display driver that will work on any video card. I usually use this driver on all my machines because it is stable and never fails.

Use your favorite text editor and open /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Look for a line that says  something like the following :

Driver      “nv”

Driver      “ati”

Driver      “nvidia”

Driver      “intel”
Change the name from what is in quotes to “vesa”.

Example of how it should be after the change:  Driver      “vea”

Save and exit the file and follow step 5.

4 thoughts on “How to reconfigure your display the easy way!

  1. Or if your running a Debian system, or some variant. dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg. Adding the switch -phigh will not prompt you for anything unless there is a major error.

    Good post rusher!


  2. Also when you are trying to figure out which video card you have you can find that out by typing at the command prompt $ lspci -v|less. And look for something like:

    00:01.0 PCI bridge: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] PCI/PCI-X Bridge
    00:02.0 Host bridge: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] Legacy South Bridge
    00:02.1 IDE interface: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] IDE
    00:02.2 ISA bridge: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] LPC
    00:03.0 USB Controller: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] USB (rev 01)
    00:03.1 USB Controller: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] USB (rev 01)
    00:03.2 USB Controller: Broadcom BCM5785 [HT1000] USB (rev 01)
    00:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage XL (rev 27)


  3. Alternatively – and believe me, I absolutely HATE to do things outside package management – but the easiest way to get graphics up and running if you use an nvidia card is to nab their proprietary binary installer.

    It will be called Simply Kill X (ctrl+alt+backspace), then:

    chmod +x
    sudo .

    And let it do it’s magic. It will prompt you to build the kernel module, if you built a custom kernel you may need to tell it where to look for the kernel headers. It will even generate you an xorg.conf file, which is a great starting point for getting dual monitors going.


  4. oops, my above comment ate my angle brackets. The filename is usually NVIDIA-(something).sh, and be sure to run the chmod, or even just “sudo sh ./(something).sh” to execute it.


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