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Changing XFree86 Video Resolutions on a Linux Host

Changing XFree86 Video Resolutions on a Linux Host

You can configure VMware Workstation on a Linux host to change the full screen display resolution to better match the resolution set in the guest operating system. On a Windows host, this is done by default and you do not need to change any configuration settings.

VMware Workstation uses the VidMode extension from the XFree86 Project to match the host resolution to the one requested by the guest running in the virtual machine.

Configuration

Configuration

The option Find best resolution in full screen mode is on by default. When on, this option allows VMware Workstation to locate the best resolution for your host operating system, thus minimizing or eliminating the black border that earlier versions of VMware Workstation displayed when the guest operating system was in full screen mode.

You can change the default for Find best resolution in full screen mode in the Virtual Machine Control Panel (Edit > Virtual Machine Settings).

Possible Issues

Possible Issues

In a few cases, the Find best resolution option may not give the best results.

X Server Configuration

X Server Configuration

When VMware Workstation switches to full screen mode, it can choose only those resolutions that are already configured in the XF86Config file on your host. A sample configuration for a given color depth could look like this:

Subsection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600"
ViewPort 0 0
EndSubsection

In this case, VMware Workstation is able to match a virtual machine running at 12801024, 1024768 or 800600 but not at 640480 or 1152900. If a virtual machine runs at a resolution that does not match a mode listed in the XFree86 configuration, then for full screen mode VMware Workstation chooses the closest larger mode (and uses black borders) or else simply does not offer full screen mode at all.

It is possible to have bad modes configured in the XF86Config file on your host. If your XFree86 configuration was automatically generated, or if you never tested all modes with your current monitor and video card, it is possible that some enabled modes do not work with your monitor. However, the mode-switching code in VMware Workstation has no way of knowing this and a virtual machine that tries to use a resolution with a bad mode line can cause your display to fail to display correctly.

If this happens, immediately leave full screen mode by pressing Ctrl-Alt, then either disable the mode switching code in VMware Workstation or fix your XFree86 configuration and restart X. However, if the only problem is that the image is off center or is not quite the right size on the monitor, you can usually correct it using the controls on your monitor. Note that most modern monitors are capable of storing separate settings for each resolution, so changing the settings for a new mode should not impair the settings for the host resolution.

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