How to Increase Your Screen Resolution Beyond Its Default Settings [Linux]

If you have a old desktop monitor, or are using a netbook with limited screen space, you know that you are stucked with the small screen size and there is practically nothing you can do about it (or do you?) Newrez is a simple application for Linux (Gnome to be more specific) that allows you to stretch your screen resolution beyond the monitor default. That means, if you are stuck at a 1024×768 resolution for your netbook, you can set it to run at 1280 or 1920 width.

Note: Newrez is not an elegant application and is not without problems. However it is one great solution to one annoying hardware limitation.

1. Download newrez from gtk-apps.

2. Inside the zipped file, there should have two files – newresz and newresz-v. Extract the two files and place newresz in the “Home -> .gnome2 -> nautilus-scripts” folder. If the nautilus-scripts does not exist, create it.

3. Next, kill your nautilus by typing “killall nautilus” in the terminal.

4. At your desktop, right-click your mouse and navigate to “Scripts -> newresz”. You should see the following:


5. Enter the resolution size that you want to set, say 1280, or 1920 and click OK. If everything go well, your screen should automatically resized to the new width.

Problems you might face

1. The script does not work

1. Check to see if you are using Gnome.
2. I have tested it with an integrated intel graphics and it works fine. However, since it requires XRandr and several AMD and Nvidia grpahics cards do not play well with XRandr, you might experience problem with the script.

2. There is no ways to restore back to the original settings

To restore, you just have to run the script again and set it to the original resolution.

3. The resized screen shows a black border box and the mouse can’t move into the box

This happens when you are on Gnome 3.x and it is a known-bug that is yet to solve (as of this post). Try the alternative method listed below.

Alternative to newresz

Remember there are two files in the zipped folder? The other file, newrez-v is an alternative to newrez and should work in all systems. The trick here is to create a vnc server at a higher resolution and then starts a vncviewer in scaled mode.

1. Open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install vnc4server gdm

2. Next, open the newrez-v file with a text editor. Scroll down to the end of the file (at around line 81), change the value behind the depth to ’24’ and the geometry to the screen size that you want to set (for example: 1920 x 1080)

$server :99 -name marc41:newrez -depth 24 -geometry 1920x1080 >/dev/null 2>&1

Save and close the file.

3. Back to the terminal, run the newrez-v file (the one time need to be run from the command line. Subsequent launch can be done from Nautilus)


Remember to change the path to the exact location of the file. This will configure the vnc settings. Once it is done, it will run the default VNC viewer with the screen size you specified. If you have specified a larger screen size, everything will be shrink down and look smaller than the default.

Image credit: several monitors with magnetic resonance images by Big Stock Photo


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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