Sharing your PC monitor with your Xbox using a VGA Switcher

Few days ago I decided to move my Xbox 360 from the room where is the TV to the room where I have my desktop PC. I wanted to avoid wasting precious space on my desk, so I decided to share my 22'' monitor with the Xbox and I bought a VGA Switcher. With this product you can easily switch the VGA signal between your PC and the Xbox and also the audio signal.

The problem with this solution is the fact that your monitor is not anymore attached directly to your graphic card and this causes problems detecting the monitor capabilities. Please note that the switcher doesn't reduce the resolution you can have, it just make the graphic card impossible to detect the correct resolution.

If you have an Nvidia graphic card you can use the nvidia-settings tool to manually set the configuration and to save it to a file, so during the next boot even if Ubuntu won't be able to detect the proper resolution for your monitor, it will simply apply the configuration found in xorg.conf

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Please remember to also set the refresh rate of the monitor (I was having a very bad resolution until I didn't choose 60 Hz in the settings window). If you don't have a Nvidia graphic card (and the proper tool) to generate a xorg.conf file or if you just want to give a look at my configuration here you have a copy:

[sourcecode lang="text"]
# nvidia-settings: X configuration file generated by nvidia-settings
# nvidia-settings: version 280.13 ([email protected]) Thu Aug 11 17:28:49 UTC 2011

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Layout0"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
Option "Xinerama" "0"

Section "Files"

Section "InputDevice"
# generated from default
Identifier "Mouse0"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "auto"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

Section "InputDevice"
# generated from default
Identifier "Keyboard0"
Driver "kbd"

Section "Monitor"
# HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Unknown"
ModelName "Ancor Communications Inc VW222"
HorizSync 31.0 - 81.0
VertRefresh 56.0 - 75.0
Option "DPMS"

Section "Device"
Identifier "Device0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
BoardName "GeForce 8800 GS"

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Device0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
Option "TwinView" "0"
Option "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "CRT-0"
Option "metamodes" "1680x1050_60 +0+0; nvidia-auto-select +0+0"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24

Remember to save the file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf and on next boot you will have the right resolution even with your VGA Switcher in use.

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