After having absolutely no problems running any version of Debian it was about time that something went south.

On installing Debian-Etch on an old Cyrix 266mhz, 198meg ram, computer with a Sceptre monitor and A50 graphics card, I had trouble getting the xserver to work correctly.

This computer and monitor combination works just fine under win98se with the A50 drivers and the monitor forced as a SuperVGA 1280×1024.

The Debian-Etch installer does much to automatically identify hardware. There was no way it was going to identify the Sceptre monitor. Even I have not been able to do that conclusively. However, I would have thought that it would be able to identify the A50 card as being a sis6326 type graphics card. It did that but it turns out that does not work. What it needed was a manual selection of the VESA driver instead.

After several hours of installation we finally got to see if the xserver was going to work. When it failed, we were left with a messed up screen and no clean way to fix it. So we powered down, rebooted and came up in single user maintenance mode.

We had to use the root password to log in.

Once in we issued the following command – dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg.

After defaulting to nearly everything we manually selected the graphics card as being a VESA type and manually selected the monitor as being a supervga 1024×768 and defaulted to the maximum resolution possible.

That worked.

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