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Text resolution for text-only modes needs to be modified.

This document (3796470) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10


Text outside of the graphic desktop (in a text-only mode) is too large or too small or the system asks which resolution to use when booting up.

The text-only modes can be seen at the following times:

During system boot and shutdown the process can be viewed in text mode by pressing Esc (if the splash screen is being displayed).

Six Virtual Terminals (text-only) are available by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F1 through F6.

If the system is brought up in runlevel 3 it will be text-only, no graphic interface.


The resolution for text-only modes are controlled by a kernel parameter "vga=" and can be modified by editing the kernel load line in your boot loader configuration file. There are 2 ways to do this. Manually by modifying the file directly or by using YaST (the graphic system configuration tool).

The modification of this parameter does not effect the resolution used for graphic modes (I.E. GNOME and KDE desktop environments).

You will find the configuration files for GRUB and LILO in the following locations:

GRUB: /boot/grub/menu.lst
LILO: /etc/lilo.conf

As you review these files you will see the selections and the kernel load line for each which will look something like:

kernel /boot/vmlinuz- root=/dev/sda5 vga=0x31a resume=/dev/sda1 splash=silent showopts

Just modify the "vga=0x31a" (or whatever is listed) to a value that is appropriate based on the table below.

To use YaST just open YaST from the menu and select "System" on the left and "Boot Loader" on the right. Once in the Boot Loader configuration highlight the selection you want to modify and click the "Edit" button near the bottom.

At the bottom of the edit screen you will see a selection for "Vga Mode". Change the value to something appropriate and save your changes.

A reboot of the system is required for the new setting to take effect.

Here is the list of available settings based on the documentation provided with the kernel. This document can be found at"/usr/src/linux/Documentation/fb/vesafb.txt".

    | 640x480 800x600 1024x768 1280x1024
256 | 0x301   0x303   0x305    0x307
32k | 0x310   0x313   0x316    0x319
64k | 0x311   0x314   0x317    0x31A
16M | 0x312   0x315   0x318    0x31B


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:3796470
  • Creation Date: 10-Mar-2008
  • Modified Date:13-Mar-2021
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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