How to Change the Screen Resolution on VirtualBox in Debian

Written by william garmany
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Debian Linux is a stable and user-friendly Linux Distribution. VirtualBox gives you the opportunity to try out Debian Linux without installing it to your hard drive by creating a virtual computer using your current operating system and hard drive. One of the problems that occur when using VirtualBox to install Debian is the way they interact together for display. Often the screen resolution will not match what your main operating system uses, which causes the screen to be too big or too small. Fortunately, this is something that you can fix in Debian.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open VirtualBox, and boot Debian as normal.

  2. 2

    Click "Devices," "Install" and "Guest Additions" from the VirtualBox window. Click "Applications," "Accessories" and "Terminal" in the Debian system to open a terminal.

  3. 3

    Type "sudo /media/cdrom/" to install VirtualBox guest additions into Debian. Reboot the virtual machine to activate the drivers.

  4. 4

    Type "sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf" to open xorg.conf in a text editor with the ability to modify the file.

  5. 5

    Add the following under "Display" "Section "Screen:""

    Identifier "Default Screen"

    Device "VirtualBox graphics card"

    Monitor "Generic Monitor"

    DefaultDepth 24

    Subsection "Display"

     Depth    24
     Modes      "1024x768"


    Modify the resolution by changing "Modes" to whatever resolution you need. Click "File" and "Save" to save your changes. Reboot the virtual machine into the new resolution.

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