Ubuntu, Avoid Changing Console Resolution

At our company we use Ubuntu 12.04 server a lot and we are pretty happy with it. But one thing really annoyed me. When installed in a virtual machine (we use KVM) it sets the console to a pretty high resolution and selects a small font. This happens somewhere early on during the boot process. We rarely use the console of the virtual servers as we usually log on with SSH. But for the first time setup of a new server the huge console window really can get in your way.

This is especially annoying when you need to read some instructions from another window and the console window is so large that it covers most of the screen — including the window displaying documentation. Even worse: Sometimes switching to the higher console resolution doesn’t work and there is no console output at all. This had to stop, so I finally figured out the solution. Its not that easy to find on Google as most people seem to look for a way making the console larger not smaller! But thanks to this blog post I found the solution: Edit /etc/default/grub and add the keyword ’nomodeset‘ to the parameter GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT.

vi /etc/default/grub

After the next reboot the console should just keep its default size. A 800×600 pixel console will give you 100×37 characters — plenty in my opinion. If this is still to much for you, then add vga=640×480 to the parameter GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, which will give you a 80×25 terminal.

vi /etc/default/grub
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="vga=640x480 nomodeset"

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