[NCLUG] NCLUG Digest, Vol 213, Issue 2

Sean Reifschneider jafo at tummy.com
Thu May 14 01:39:19 MDT 2009

voortuck wrote:
>  I have an laptop (HP nw8000) that shows resolution 1600x1200 undocked,
> but only 800x640 when docked.  I'm using Ubuntu 8.04.   Any advice?

What may be happening is that there is some logic in the docking station
that provides another display output.  You don't have a monitor or TV
hooked up to the docking station do you?  If you do, first try
disconnecting it from the docking station and then put the computer in it
and see if it still goes to 800x640.

Another thing to try is run "xrandr -q" when the machine is running in
1600x1200 mode and then when it's in the docking station and compare the
output of the two.  Post the output to the list if you'd like us to look at

For example, it may be something like this (excerpted for brevity,
it's over 30 lines on my system):

guin:bin$ xrandr -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 3600 x 1080, maximum 3600 x 1080
VGA connected 1920x1080+1680+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
477mm x 268mm
   1920x1080      60.0*+
   1680x1050      60.0
   1400x1050      60.0
LVDS connected 1680x1050+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 331mm
x 207mm
   1680x1050      60.0*+   84.9     74.9     69.9     60.0     50.0
   1600x1024      60.2
   1400x1050      85.0     74.8     70.0     60.0
TMDS-1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

This is when I have a monitor connected to my laptop and activated at
1920x1080, and the laptop is running a 1680x1050.

Once you have it in the docking station you can then try running "xrandr
--auto", and see what happens.  Using combinations of options to xrandr you
can do things like have the two displays show the same thing or have them
show different things, specify which monitor is the primary, etc...  Run
"man xrandr" for the full documentation, and also search google, there are
some examples of use.

For example, when I connect my 1920x1080 second monitor (full HDTV
resolution), I run:

   xrandr --auto
   xrandr --output LVDS --primary --auto --rotate normal --pos 0x0 \
         --output VGA --size 1920x1080 --rotate normal --right-of LVDS

Now, that does move my windows around, sometimes in annoying ways.  I wish
it would just leave them where they are and the size they are, and I'll
move things around if I want them, but I haven't been able to manage that

Then, when I disconnect the monitor, I just do "xrandr --auto" and it all
goes back.  Again though, often with tweaks to my windows...

> I have avi files I want to play on the TV..but totem only displays a

What is the resolution of your TV?  Is it a "standard def" TV, in which
case that may be why it's switching to 800x640...  Standard def can go up
to "576i" which is 720×576, which is kinda close to the 800x640 you're

Now, there is also this "Display" section in "System Settings", which is a
GUI to xrandr.  However, I'll admit that that has *NEVER* given me any

> picture on the laptop--it's blank on my tv -- frame but no video-- even
> though i can surf on the tv, I'm haunted by the inability to show my
> friends Blake's 7 on the big(ger) screen.

I'm not quite sure there.  One thing you might try is rebooting with the
monitor connected.  My laptop , if I do that, will say "Hey, you obviously
want to use *JUST* the external display, and it disables the laptop

Sean Reifschneider, Member of Technical Staff <jafo at tummy.com>
tummy.com, ltd. - Linux Consulting since 1995: Ask me about High Availability

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