An introduction to editing xorg.conf

On Display

Article from Issue 143/2012

Understanding xorg.conf makes it easy to tweak your graphical display setup.

Only a few years ago, if you wanted a graphical display on your Linux system, an xorg.conf file, or its predecessor XFree86-Config, was a necessity. Today, hotplugging and the XRandR extension have made screen display automatic on most Linux systems. However, now and then – just often enough that you feel a sense of betrayal – a keyboard or a video card might not be detected, or the maximum resolution for a video card isn’t being used. When such problems appear, you can usually solve them by creating and editing an xorg.conf file on your system. You might also want to use an xorg.conf file to make specific settings the default.

xorg.conf is not the only way to set up your graphical display. You can also set it up using the Xorg or XRandR command or via your environment. But, because xorg.conf is a well-organized text file that you can edit when logged in as root user, it is by far the easiest way to make adjustments. Just make sure you back up any existing xorg.conf file so that you can easily recover from any mistakes.

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