Setting the Resolution in an X-less VM

guy using laptop

Ever been working in a VM that is command line only and wished it wasn’t so small? Well, that was how I felt constantly until now. Step on past the break to see how to change the resolution in an X-less install by utilizing uvesafb.

Let’s look at this from two points of view: Ubuntu and Gentoo.

Ubuntu with Grub2:

First, we are assuming that you want to make your window 1024x768-24... adjust as you see fit.

Install v86d so you can get uvesafb:

gene@ubuntu01:~$ sudo apt-get install v86d

Edit /etc/default/grub so that the lines referenced below are changed:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1024x768-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap"

Now add the following to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules:

uvesafb mode_option=1024x768-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap

Now we need to force the use of the framebuffer:

gene@ubuntu01:~$ echo FRAMEBUFFER=y | sudo tee /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash

Lastly we need to apply these changes and reboot:

gene@ubuntu01:~$ sudo update-grub2
gene@ubuntu01:~$ sudo update-initramfs -u
gene@ubuntu01:~$ sudo reboot


I could reinvent the wheel here... or I can just let Spock, the author of uvesafb, tell us how this is done at

That's it. I hope you enjoy having a little more real estate in your command line only VM's.

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