Linux Know-How provides a collection of introductory texts on often needed Linux skills.

Setting up video card, monitor and mouse

This should be set-up during your Linux initial installation unless you skipped the step. To set it up now, you may try, as root, one of these text-mode configurators (as root):




Under RedHat, you can also run the command setup (as root) and access Xconfigurator from there.

To setup X-windows under Linux, you may need to know your hardware. You may want to dust your monitor manual to see what maximum synchronization frequencies (vertical and horizontal) your monitor supports. The message when the computer boots may give you a clue about what type of video card you have and with how much video memory. Also running these commands will likely provide helpful information:



Read the label underneath your mouse to find out about the mouse type. Next time you buy a mouse, get a 3-button "Linux-ready" Logitech or similar (Linux makes good use of all three mouse buttons). A standard (clone or not) mouse always makes a good sense--I would never buy an unusual mouse because it may requires a weird driver or otherwise be a installation/functional pain.

During testing of the X-server, if the screen goes blank, displays funny lines, or otherwise obviously does not function as designed, kill it fast with <Ctrl><Alt><BkSpace> and re-check your monitor sync frequencies. Running too high frequencies can be harmful to your monitor.

If you really have problems, set up a plain vga X server first (resolution 640x480 pixels, 16 or 256 colours). You can fine-tune it later, after you get some understanding of how things work on your system, or perhaps with the help of some nicer setup tools available under X.

After setting up X, you can start it manually using:

startx &

The "&" makes your command run in the background so that your text terminal is not blocked. You could also use:

init 5

which will switch your system to runlevel 5, which means "the graphical user interface run level". To start X automatically (or not, your choice) on the system reboot, read the next few paragraphs.

Last Update: 2010-12-16