Friday, March 11, 2011

How to improve screen resolution for Ubuntu 10.10 guest under VirtualBox

I was surprised that in Ubuntu running as a guest under VirtualBox, my screen resolution choices were no better than 800x600, and there were, I believe, only two choices.

The first step I followed was to download the VirtualBox guest additions for Ubuntu, put them in the virtual CD drive, and install them in Ubuntu. That went well and improved the situation a bit. But my resolution choice still did not match my host computer's monitor.

Research revealed that I might need to go to VirtualBox Display settings and choose 3D acceleration and increase video memory. After trying both, I found that the 3D acceleration made no difference, but that it was necessary to increase my video memory to 64 MB.

Once I increased the video memory to 64 MB, a single additional resolution appeared and was automatically selected in Ubuntu. And that resolution was optimally sized for my host monitor, including subtractions for the Windows and VirtualBox real estate losses at top and bottom. Ahh, better.

Later, when I installed some system updates, I had to further increase the video memory to 128 MB, because my resolution went back down below the host computer size.

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