Quick-Start Guide to XFree86 Setup : Using XF86Setup
Previous: What to Do - An Overview
Next: Running xf86config

3. Using XF86Setup

XF86Setup will first check around to make sure certain files are installed and that you are running as root. If a problem is found, it will display a message and exit. Correct the problem (e.g. install the missing files) and run it again.

XF86Setup is internationalized. If you are Japanese and set the LANG environment variable to ja, japan, japanese, etc., XF86Setup's screen can be Japanized. But it is necessary that XF86Setup is built with Japanized Tcl/Tk. Other language can be added, if you prepare its own directory under the directory XF86Setup/texts. Please see under the directory XF86Setup/texts/generic.

3.1. Initial questions

If you have an existing XF86Config file, you will be asked if you would like to use it to set the default values of various configuration settings. If you've already got an (at least somewhat) working configuration you will want to do this.

If you are running on an OS which has a mouse driver in the kernel (e.g. SCO or SVR4), you may be asked if you'd like to use it.

Once the questions (if any) are completed, you will see a message indicating that the program is ready to switch into graphics mode. Just press Enter. If you don't get a graphics screen saying Welcome to XFree86 Setup within a minute, something has probably hung, you can try pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to switch back to text mode and you'll probably have to use xf86config instead of XF86Setup.

3.2. Configuration areas

Once the VGA16 server is started, and once the program has finished loading, you will see a screen with six buttons along the top and three along the bottom. The buttons along the top correspond to the general categories of configuration settings. They can be done in any order. Each of these areas is explained in detail below. The bottom row consists of the Abort, Done, and Help buttons.

Abort does as it name implies. It exits the program without saving any changes that have been made. The one possible exception is the link to the mouse device. Any change to that is made as soon as Apply is selected.

Done should be selected when you've finished configuration in each of the various categories.

The Help can be pressed at any time to get on-line help regarding the current configuration screen.

You should start with configuring your mouse as it will make things a lot easier to perform the configuration of other categories.

3.2.1. Mouse

The mouse configuration screen is used to get the mouse working properly. There are key bindings for everything so that you can easily configure the mouse, if it's not already working.

The screen includes a representation of a white mouse with three buttons. As you move your mouse it should show the pointer coordinates on the mouse and the buttons should turn black as you press the corresponding button on your mouse. If that is not happening, then your mouse is not correctly configured.

Along the top are some rows of buttons corresponding to the various possible protocols. There will also be several buttons and a couple of sliders for other settings, a visual representation of the mouse, and a button to apply any changes. There may also be an entry box in which the device can be set along with a list of possible devices.

First try moving your mouse around and see if the pointer moves correctly. If so, try testing that the buttons are working properly. If those are working as desired, go ahead and go on to another configuration area.

If the mouse pointer doesn't move at all, you need to fix either the mouse device or the protocol (or both). You can press 'n' followed by a Tab, to move to the list of mouse devices and select a different one. Pressing 'p' will pick the next available protocol on the list (protocols that are not available on your OS will be greyed-out). If you have a PnP mouse, it may be easiest to just select "Auto" as the protocol. After changing these, press 'a' to apply the changes and try again. Repeat the process until you are getting some response from your mouse.

If the mouse pointer or button indicators do something when you move the mouse, but the pointer is not moving properly, you probably have the wrong protocol selected. Try with a different one.

Most mice these days use the Microsoft protocol, the second most common is MouseSystems. Some mice do both. These dual-protocol mice have various methods of switching between the two protocols. Some have a switch on the mouse itself. Some are switched by sending a certain signal to the mouse when opening a connection to the mouse. These signals can be controlled by using different combinations of the 'ClearDTR' and 'ClearRTS' settings. Other mice require a button to be depressed when the mouse is opened (when the mouse driver first tries to talk to it). If your mouse uses this method, hold down the appropriate button while selecting apply (pressing 'a').

Once the mouse pointer is moving correctly, test that all three buttons are working properly. If your mouse only has two buttons, select 'Emulate3Buttons' and you should be able to press both buttons simultaneously to emulate the missing middle button. If not all of the buttons are working, try changing the 'ChordMiddle' setting or you may be using a protocol that is similar to that of your mouse, but not quite right.

3.2.2. Keyboard

You need to specify the model and layout of your keyboard (and press apply) if they are not already correct. The graphical representation of the keyboard will be updated when you choose a different model.

For non-U.S. keyboards you may wish to choose a variant from the list (at this time there is only one available variant: nodeadkeys>).

You can also pick from the options to the right, if you wish.

3.2.3. Card

Pick your card from the list.

If there are README files that may pertain to your card the 'Read README file' button will then be usable (i.e. not greyed out). Please read them.

If your card is not in the list, or if there are any special settings listed in the README file as required by your card, you can press the 'Detailed Setup' button to make sure that the required settings are selected. Otherwise, you're finished with configuring your card.

To use 'Detailed Setup': First select the appropriate server for your card. Then read the README file corresponding to the selected server by pressing the 'Read README file' button (it won't do anything, if there is no README).

Next, pick the chipset, and Ramdac of your card, if directed by the README file. In most cases, you don't need to select these, as the server will detect (probe) them automatically.

The clockchip should generally be picked, if your card has one, as these are often impossible to probe (the exception is when the clockchip is built into one of the other chips).

Choose whatever options are appropriate (again, according to the README).

You can also set the maximum speed of your Ramdac. Some Ramdacs are available with various speed ratings. The max speed cannot be detected by the server so it will use the speed rating of the slowest version of the specified Ramdac, if you don't specify one.

Additionally, you can also specify the amount of RAM on your card, though the server will usually be able to detect this.

3.2.4. Modeselect

Use this one to pick which depth you prefer to use (this determines how many colors can be displayed at a time) and to select all of the modes you are interested in possibly using.

Your hardware may not be able to support all of depth and mode combinations that can be selected. Any unsupported combinations will automatically be rejected by the server when it tries to startup. Note also that if you select multiple modes, you will get a virtual screen as large as the largest of the usable modes.

3.2.5. Monitor

Enter the horizontal and vertical frequency ranges that your monitor supports in the corresponding entry boxes near the top of the screen. You can enter specific frequencies or ranges of frequencies (separated by hyphens). If the monitor supports several different frequencies or ranges, list them all, separated by commas.

If you can not find this information in you monitor's manual, pick one of the choices from the list of common monitor capabilities. The program will use conservative values for each of these, so you'll get better performance if you type in the correct values from your monitor manual.

3.2.6. Other

You can probably just skip this one.

3.2.7. Completing the configuration

Once you've finished with the above, press the 'Done' button and then the 'Okay' button which will appear. You will then be switched back to text mode.

3.3. Back to text mode

The program will now attempt to start the appropriate server for your card, with all of the configuration settings you selected. If for some reason it is unable to start the server, you have likely selected an improper setting and will be asked if you would like to return to the graphical configuration screen and try again.

3.4. The second server

This is unlikely to happen, but if when the server starts, the display is unreadable, try pressing Ctrl-Alt-+ (using the plus on the numeric keypad) to switch to a different video mode.

The display will show an entry box and three buttons.

The first button allows you to run xvidtune to adjust your video modes. One important point to keep in mind when using xvidtune is that switching video modes with Ctrl-Alt-+ is disabled while xvidtune is running. You must use the 'Next' and 'Prev' buttons to switch modes. Because of this, you should be careful not to move the mouse when pressing either of these. If by some chance the mode you switch to doesn't produce a readable display on your monitor, you can then just press the mouse button again to move to the next (hopefully readable) mode.

The second button causes the settings you've made to be written to the filename given in the entry box. After saving the settings a message will appear indicating that it has finished. Just press the 'Okay' button and you're done.

And the third button causes the program to exit without saving any of the configuration settings.

3.5. Ending text

You are returned to text mode and the program will print a `Configuration complete.' message. You should now have a usable configuration file and can start the X server by whichever method you wish (usually either the 'startx' command or via 'xdm').

Quick-Start Guide to XFree86 Setup : Using XF86Setup
Previous: What to Do - An Overview
Next: Running xf86config