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(Sorry for the inconvenience)

PC-BSD's display wizard can be used to configure your video driver and display settings.

NOTE: if you have an NVIDIA card, install the NVIDIA driver first in Control Panel ➜ System Manager ➜ System Packages ➜ Hardware-Drivers.

To access the display wizard, go to Control Panel ➜ Display. You will receive the message shown in Figure 7.5a:

Figure 7.5a: Save Your Work Before Changing Display Settings


If you need to save any work first, press No and restart the Display wizard when you are ready. Once you select Yes, you will be prompted for the superuser password. The system will reboot into the display wizard, shown in Figure 7.5b:

Figure 7.5b: Display Settings Wizard


Here you can select your desired screen resolution, color depth and the video driver. PC-BSD should list the name of your video card, however, it may select the "vesa" driver which should always work but will provide sub-optimal performance. Click on the drop down menu to select the driver that most closely matches your video card name.

You can also use the drop down menus to change the screen resolution and color depth values. If the value you desire is not listed, it may be that the selected driver does not support that resolution or depth.

Advanced users can select their monitor's horizontal sync and vertical refresh rate in the Advanced tab, seen in Figure 7.5c:

Figure 7.5c: Advanced Tab of Display Settings


Use caution and refer to your monitor's documentation if you make any changes here. If you're not sure what you're doing, leave the default values as-is.

If your computer is connected to two monitors, check the box "Enable Dual-Head support".

When you are finished, click the Apply button for your settings to be tested. If anything goes wrong during testing, you should be taken back to this Display Settings screen so that you can amend the details. Once you are satisfied with the settings, click Yes when prompted to accept them.

KDE Desktop Effects and Compiz

To prevent problems with video cards that do not support desktop effects, these are disabled by default. You can enable these effects if your video card supports them. How to do so depends upon the desktop.

Within KDE, click Control Panel ➜ System Settings ➜ Desktop Effects to access the configuration screen shown in Figure 7.5d:

Figure 7.5d: Enabling Desktop Effects in KDE


Check the box "Enable desktop effects at startup". You can use the All Effects tab to get more information about each possible effect and to enable the effects that interest you.

For the other desktops, you can install Compiz using Control Panel ➜ System Manager ➜ System Packages ➜ Misc ➜ Compiz. Once installed, you can configure Compiz within GNOME by clicking System ➜ Preferences ➜ CompizConfig Settings Manager. This will open the screen shown in Figure 7.5e:

Figure 7.5e: Configuring Compiz in GNOME


You can also open this screen by typing ccsm from any desktop.


Until TTM is ported to PC-BSD, ATI/Radeon video cards will not be fully supported. If the screen goes blank or otherwise doesn't work when you select the HD version of the driver, selecting the non-HD version should allow you to use the card. Radeon HD5xxx and higher GPUs have no support for acceleration, 2D or 3D. At this time, these video cards can only use the Vesa driver.

If you are having problems with your display settings and would like to manually edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf or run Xorg --config, first tell the PC-BSD system to not automatically start X. You can temporarily stop your current X session and prevent additional settings from starting by typing this command as the superuser:

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/gdm stop

This will drop you down to a console where you can try the instructions in the FreeBSD Handbook to manually configure and test Xorg. Once you have a configuration that works for you, save it to /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and restart gdm and an X session:

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/gdm start

If your graphics white-out after a suspend or resume, try running this command as the superuser:

sysctl hw.acpi.reset_video=1

If that fixes the problem, carefully add this line to /etc/sysctl.conf:


If the monitor goes blank and doesn't come back, try running this command as your regular user account:

xset -dpms

If that fixes the problem, add that line to the .xprofile file in your home directory.

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