In most GNU/Linux systems, you are provided with multiple TTYs or virtual consoles. Typically 6. These are accessed by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 through F6 with your XServer typically running on TTY7 or Ctrl+Alt+F7 and the console logging done to TTY8 or TTY12. (Ctrl+Alt+F8 or F12). The default resolution for these console screens is 80 columns by 25 rows. This default resolution is inconvenient for most activities done on the console. Thankfully, this is an old problem and has been solved for a long time.
The following instructions will provide you the necessary steps to increase the resolution of console screens through the use of the vga kernel option.
Warning: Be careful to not chose a resolution that is higher than what your display device supports. Doing so will require you to boot a rescue disk and adjust the vga mode to a supported value.
Increase the resolution of the virtual consoles
Chose preferred console resolution
The default size of the console is 25x80 chars using vga (640x480 pixels) for historical reasons. In order to utilize modern display resolution you will need to override this settings during the operation system boot process. Please note that widescreen format support is very limited in the VESA standards. Pick a appropriate value from the matrix below, e.g. 791 for 16 bit 1280x1024.
320×200 640×400 640×480 800×500 800×600 896×672 1024×640 16 colors 770 256 colors 768 769 879 771 815 874 15-bit 781 801 784 880 787 816 875 16-bit 782 802 785 881 788 817 876 24-bit 783 803 786 882 789 818 877 32-bit 804 809 883 814 819 878 1024×768 1152×720 1280×1024 1440×900 1600×1200 772 774 773 869 775 864 796 790 870 793 865 797 791 871 794 866 798 792 872 795 867 799 824 873 829 868 834
A more complete description and table can be found on the Wikipedia VESA BIOS Extension article.
Append vga=791 in the end of the kernel line. Your root=UUID will look different .Do not edit this since it will cause your computer to fail booting. Please be warned.
In the kernel line below the option splash is removed since it might cause LCD monitors to entering sleep mode during the boot process when using DVI input. This is not a serious error but a very annoying side-effect from changing the console resolution. This failure might apply on other configurations as well.
title Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-9-generic uuid 636dc411-e53a-4776-a9e9-4fc9e277f445 kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-9-generic root=UUID=636dc411-e53a-4776-a9e9-4fc9e277f445 ro quiet splash vga=791 initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-9-generic quiet
- Tip, If you would like to test the setting but not make a permanent change as above it's possible to edit grub options during computer booting. When grub is loading press ESC to enter the boot menu, chose to edit the kernel line and append vga=791. Continue to boot linux.
Set usplash resolution
To keep the Ubuntu slash logo centered, you must set the resolution to match what you chose from the table.
sudo vi /etc/usplash.conf
Change xres= to the first 1/2 of the resolution and yres= to the second 1/2. e.g.
# Usplash configuration file xres=1024 yres=768
Rebuild the kernel image
This step is necessary to rebuild the usplash graphics in the kernel image being used upon next reboot. This step might also be necessary to perform after a kernel upgrade.
sudo update-initramfs -u
Hopefully you should see the boot messages with a smaller font upon the boot process.
If you are interested in seeing the supported modes of your video card, you can set the vga= line to ask and reboot. vga=ask
Upon Grub loading, it will present you with a table of the supported modes of your video card. The format is X by Y by Color Depth in bits. The number to the left of the resolution is the VESA mode. You need to convert the code to Linux VGA modes. This is typically done by adding 512 to the VESA mode. This is not always the case and can be values greater or lower.
This section was assembled using information from different sources.