KVM - The Linux Kernel-Based Virtual Machine
News, Blogs and Resources on the Linux (KVM) Kernel-Based Virtual Machine

Using High Resolution Graphics

Beginning with KVM-62, there are more options for high resolution graphics on a kvm guest using standard vga options. This really improves the user’s experience when running a guest using the full screen option and with high resolution. To use this option simply start your guest using the –std-vga option. For example.

qemu-system-x86_64 –hda windows.img –m 512 –std-vga

If you then configure your display options from within your guest you’ll notice that you can specify higher resolutions. For example, within my windows xp guest I can get up to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

You can also combine the full screen option with your high resolution vga by using the –full-screen option so that your guest will automatically start in full screen mode as follows:

qemu-system-x86_64 –hda windows.img –m 512 –std-vga –full-screen

You can toggle full screen mode with ctrl-alt-f keystrokes.

For more on high resolution vga with kvm see Using Vmware vga driver with kvm

See Also


Great, is there a driver too?

This is certainly nice. After not trying anything concerning virtualization or emulation for quite a while I was actually impressed with the whole kvm project. I think the worst part currently is interaction with the guest os, I don't really like it grabbing my keyboard and mouse and resolutions where not near my native screen resolutions. Now when I run it fullscreen it's just like I booted windows, except for my music still playing in the background :) . I was wondering if there's also a vga driver for xp to go along with the --std-vga option. Previously xp reported the graphics card as cirrus, now it doesn't know what to make of it... Would be nice if it did, even though it works great this way too!

No special driver

No, no special driver for the -std-vga option.

What determines your max res?

I only get a maximun of 1600x1200.
I'm using KVM command and not qemu as I couldn't get the acceleration to work.Is that why I only get 1600x1200?

My ubuntu res is 2560x1600 so I'd love to get that.

My command is..
kvm -M pc -soundhw all -m 1024 -std-vga -hda xp.img

Using qemu I still only got 1600x1200.



Actually, the high resolution vga driver is a feature of the kvm modified qemu so the kvm command should work for you. What version of kvm are you running?

Re: Resolution


I'm having the same problem as ~art. I also have a hardware resolution of 2560x1600, and with -std-vga, XP only allows me to set resolutions up to 1600x1200 and 1680x1050 (and both work).

I'm using the kvm distributed with Ubuntu 8.04. kvm -h tells me it is "QEMU PC emulator version 0.9.1 (kvm-62), Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Fabrice Bellard".


std-vga resolution

Vicnent and ~art,

I'm just beginning to wonder if I was bad at communicating my experience from the post. I don't actually get 2500x1600 on my xp; it crashes when I try to get that maximum possible resolution. I only get maximum according to my hardware which for me is 1920x1200. Is this your experience?

Re: std-vga resolution

No, in the window where you can set the resolution for XP (the one that you show above), the rightmost position of the scrollbar corresponds to 1680x1050. I cannot set it any higher than that.

Windows xp resolution


This is certainly inconsistent behavior. I would think this would be consistent with xp. Just out of curiosity, are you running xp sp1 or sp2? I'm running sp2. I don't know if this is cause but I'm looking for any kind of difference.

Re: Windows xp resolution

I'm running: (from My computer -> Properties)
Microsoft Windows XP
Version 2002
Service Pack 2

Re: xp vga resolution

I suspect this has to do with ubuntu kvm package. If you can, can you uninstall the ubuntu kvm package and download and install the latest kvm module? I think this might work.

Re: xp vga resolution

I'll try that first thing tomorrow (it's dinner time right now, and I have other plans for the evening). Thanks for your time.

No problem. Just please let

No problem. Just please let us know if it works for you.


I downloaded kvm-71.tar.gz from sourceforge, compiled it, and it works! I now have XP running in 2560x1600, and fullscreen also works fine.

I'm still using it with the kernel modules distributed with Ubuntu's kernel and I notice no problems with that.

Thanks for your help.

vga resolution issue with ubuntu kvm package


No problem and thanks for the report. Glad to hear that you got it to work; hope ~art is reading so he can resolve his issue too.

Thanks all, My experience is

Thanks all,
My experience is exactly the same as Vincent's. Ie ubuntu, XP sp2, 1600x1200 or 1600x10050. I'll download the latest package and compile that.

Compile something...omg...I'll have to learn something new.

Thanks everyone, I look forward to 1600x2560 goodness.

Upgrading KVM-62 to kvm-72 on Ubuntu 8.04

Hi everyone,

can someone tell me how (in simpleton terms) how to upgrade from kvm-62 (v 0.9.1) to kvm-72? I am using Ubuntu 8.04 and having Win XP SP2 installed as a guest. I have been unable to use a decent screen resolution so far with kvm-62 and hope that the later version will have rectified this.



XP is a hurdle,as always

The new resolutions work really well, but upon using the --std-vga option my Suspend/Hibernate button from the XP Shutdown menu has been greyed out, so I cannot hibernate anymore!! I guess this is due to the fact that there is now no video driver installed. Does anybody have any idea to share about this? I tried the VBE driver from bearwindows, but it didn't fix it.

XP & KVM: Dispaly 1280x720

I can get all the really large resolutions with -std-vga upto 2560x1600. But what i really want is 1280x720.

Does anyone know how to get that?

I'm using KVM with Ubuntu 8.10


That resolution is not

That resolution is not supported by the std-vga driver. You can probably request it on the developer mailing list.

3840 x 1200

It's been a while since the last post in this thread. Is it currently possible to even increase the resolution to 3840 x 1200 (2x 1920) when using a later built of kvm?


Re: 3840x1200


Unfortunately the highest resolution you can get currently is 2560x1600.

vgabios.bin / different resolution limits between KVM-versions?

I had to face a similar problem as it is described above: In my Kubuntu 9.04 Desktop PC my kvm-hosted Windows XP guest showed a 1920x1200x36 resolution and everything worked fine (qemu 0.9.1 - kvm-84). After an update to Kubuntu 10.04 the resolution was restricted to 1600x1200x36 (qemu-kvm 0.12.3 - same image, same system). It did not seem logical to me that an "old" kvm/qemu version is the reason, so I found a kvm-system file named vgabios.bin in /usr/share/. This is a kvm-system resource defining the graphic modes.

A simple copy of this file from my "old" to my "new" system brought the solution: 1920x1200x36 mode worked again on my 10.04 machine. Alternatively you can download the kvm-sources where you find a recent copy of this file, too.

For those searching for "exotic" resolutions it might make sense to have a look at http://www.nongnu.org/vgabios/ where the bochs/qemu vgabios project is hosted. You can download the sources, modify modes and compile your own vgabios.bin. I have no experience with that, but it seems to be not to difficult.

I hope this helps someone,

vgabios.bin vs. resolution higher than 1600x1200

I'll add my recent experience which might help someone, since I haven't googled anything that would solve my problem, just this page which helped me to move in the right direction.
The problem was that I couldn't get my Windows XP SP3 guest system to run in resolution higher than 1600x1200. When I have downloaded and compiled the latest version of vgabios from http://www.nongnu.org/vgabios/ , the guest was running in a fallback mode of 800x600x4
I have downloaded and compiled (with --prefix=/usr) qemu-kvm 0.13.0, but when I removed the ubuntu qemu-kvm package and installed the newly compiled one, virt-manager was unable to run the virtual machine and was returning some error. So I have installed the ubuntu qemu-kvm package again (version 0.12.3+noroms-0ubuntu9.3) without uninstalling the 0.13.0, at this point I was about to give up, but tried to run the guest again and voila, I was able to set the resolution of up to 2560x1600... I can't really understand what the problem was, but it works now :-)
Also previously I have also compiled and installed Seabios 0.6.1, which did not help but I left it there (in /usr/share/seabios) so I'm not sure if that helped to solve the issue eventually.
The host system is running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Requesting vgabios.bin

Dear Christoph,

Cloud you please send the "good" vgabios.bin file to wienna[at]gmx.net in order to enable 1920x1200 on my System?
I spent 4 hours without success on this issue now...

Many thanks in advance!

It's good that they have

It's good that they have thought about that. It was about time they did something. Thanks for sharing. I bow down humbly in the presecne of such greatness.

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