I just installed Debian 11.6 and see that everything looks scaled up a lot.

I checked the size of the display and it is 800 x 600 which is quite big having it on my 4k monitor. But me having an NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti should not trigger this because that is some good hardware

So obviously, I opened settings and went to the "Display" section to change the resolution but I can only see the resolution but not change it.

How can I change the resolution of the display?


4 Answers 4


If you only see one resolution that is smaller than you expect (as you say "everything looks scaled up a lot"), this usually means the system is using an unaccelerated firmware default resolution as a fall-back.

On x86 systems with legacy BIOS firmware, this usually means the system is using basic VESA SVGA display modes. On systems with UEFI, this means the system is using the efifb driver, which provides a very basic unaccelerated framebuffer graphical display with just one or very few resolutions available.

To fix this, more information on your hardware is needed. Mainly, what GPU(s) does your system have? Manufacturer and model? What does lspci -d ::0300 -nnv say?

Based on this information, we could then figure out if the GPU is supported by open-source drivers available in the distribution (in Debian, this would be the optimal situation), or if you need proprietary drivers or just a newer driver version from Debian Backports.

In the simplest case, you might just need to tell the package manager to install the correct xserver-xorg-video-* package for your hardware:

  • xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu for modern AMD Radeon GPUs
  • xserver-xorg-video-nouveau for essentially all but the latest NVidia GPUs
  • xserver-xorg-video-intel for Intel iGPUs

There are other options, but these three are probably the most common ones.

If your system is a modern laptop, it probably has two GPUs: a low-power CPU-integrated iGPU, and a more powerful discrete GPU chip to be used when high graphics performance is needed and/or you're not on battery power. You'll need drivers for both GPUs.

Please edit your question to add the output of the lspci -d ::0300 -nnv command. After that, either me or someone else can provide you with specific instructions.


On the command line you can use xrandr. The command alone will return the available resolutions for your current screen:

JimmyZeng:~$ xrandr
   1680x1050     59.95*+
   1280x1024     75.02    60.02  
   1152x864      75.00  
   1024x768      75.03    60.00  
   800x600       75.00    60.32  
   640x480       75.00    59.94  
   720x400       70.08

Then pick the resolution you want and call xrandr again with the --fb option and the resolution:

JimmyZeng:~$ xrandr --fb 1280x1024

Edit: Of course, this assumes you're using xorg and not Wayland. If you're using Gnome you may well be using Wayland.

  • wlr-randr is a similar tool for wayland.
    – stevea
    Feb 17 at 18:29
  • Thanks. I'll switch to Wayland when it has a little wider application support. <cough>Gimp</cough>
    – pell
    Feb 17 at 18:56
  • xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default\n Screen 0: minimum 800 x 600, current 800 x 600, maximum 800 x 600\n default connected primary 800x600+0+0 0mm x 0mm\n 800x600 75.00*
    – Jimmy Zeng
    Feb 18 at 12:03
  • That xrandr error is outside my level of experience with xorg, but here is a Stack Overflow link about a similar issue: stackoverflow.com/questions/47391669/…
    – pell
    Feb 18 at 16:05

If you are using Debian on a desktop environment, go to Settings/ Display/ Resolution. It will open the several available screen resolutions enter image description here

  • That is exactly what I tried, I stated "So obviously, I opened settings and went to the "Display" section to change the resolution but I can only see the resolution but not change it.". But having that it didn't work, I posted this question.
    – Jimmy Zeng
    Feb 22 at 10:14

I just needed to install the drivers for my graphics card, and I can get more display sizes in the settings display section, silly me!

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