I'm using VMware with Arch and XFCE. The default screen resolution was too small for me so I wanted to change it to something higher. I accidentally selected a screen size that was too big and I thought it was going to go back to the screen size it was before but it just stayed as a black screen. I have rebooted VMware and Arch is still a black screen.

Is there anyway to fix this without reinstalling?


The right way to do this would be to find the config file that is changed, and edit it to the correct resolution. But I'm not an XFCE user so you'll have to look for this yourself :)

Another, desktop-agnostic way is to change the resolution using xrandr. Assuming you can still boot up your computer and use Ctrl+Alt+F1 to access a command prompt, you can type this to change to automatic resolution:

xrandr --display :0 --output VGA1 --auto

After the command has finished without any error you can use Ctrl+Alt+F7 to go back to the GUI and it should have the right resolution. Don't forget to change the resolution again, so that the configuration will be saved.


  1. You may need to change VGA1 to the name of your display output (type xrandr --display:0 to see the outputs).

  2. If --auto isn't smart enough you can change it to e.g.
    xrandr --display :0 --output VGA1 --mode 1024x768
    , which will change the resolution to 1024x768 (again, type xrandr --display:0 to see the possible resolution modes).

  • 2
    And failing all that, you can append single to the end of the kernel line in the grub boot menu, which will let you reconfigure X from single-user mode. – Warren Young Apr 17 '12 at 14:10

Ran into this exact issue today and the xrandr command above didn't work for me.

The actual config file is: ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/displays.xml

Changed the Resolution line back to 800x600 and i was good:

<property name="Resolution" type="string" value="800x600"/>

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