Setting the screen resolution and refresh rate on DEC Windows

A long time ago when I first had access to a VMS Workstation with DEC Windows you didn’t really need to worry about the screen resolution or refresh rate as the graphics options were essentially fixed by the hardware.

Recently having installed an ATI Radeon 7500 (3X-PBXGG-AA) in my Alphaserver it turned out to be a little less than obvious to get it to use the resolution and refresh rate I wanted.

It was easy enough to figure out how to set the screen resolution and refresh rate by assigning the desired values ‘DECW$XSIZE_IN_PIXELS’, ‘DECW$YSIZE_IN_PIXELS’ and ‘DECW$SERVER_REFRESH_RATE’ in ‘DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.COM’, but actually getting the system to USE the correct video mode was rather more problematic, even though examining ‘DECW$DEVICE_CONFIG_GH.COM’ does indicate that the driver supports a resolution of 1920 x 1200.

I have had some success by reducing the number of bits per pixel using ‘DECW$SERVER_PIXEL_DEPTH’, but this only seems to work some of the time (though there have been a few occasions when the display has used the desired resolution), unfortunately most of the time the display resolution is actually 1600 x 1200 which isn’t bad.

$ EDIT SYS$SYSROOT:[SYSMGR]DECW$PRIVATE_SERVER_SETUP.COM;

$ ! All symbols that are LISTS are comma separated, and each position effects
$ ! the device listed in that position in DECW$DEVICE except where noted.  If
$ ! no value is provided in a position, the first value in the list is used.
$ !
$ ! *    This list is not per head, but for the entire server.
$ ! **   DECW$COLOR is now obselete, use DECW$SERVER_DEFAULT_VISUAL_CLASS
$ ! ***  DECW$SERVER_CONNECT_LOG is now obsolete, use DECW$SERVER_AUDIT_LEVEL
$ !
$ ! Define the defautl screen resolution, refresh rate and colour depth
$ !
$ DECW$XSIZE_IN_PIXELS == 1920
$ DECW$YSIZE_IN_PIXELS == 1200
$ DEFINE /SYSTEM /EXECUTIVE /NOLOG DECW$SERVER_REFRESH_RATE 60
$ DEFINE /SYSTEM /EXECUTIVE /NOLOG DECW$SERVER_PIXEL_DEPTH 8
$ !
$ ! Define the default keyboard layout if not DIGITAL_US_LK201
$ !
$ DECW$DEFAULT_KEYBOARD_MAP == "BRITISH_LK444AE_PC"
$ !
$ ! Display the graphics configuration...
$ !

For these changes to take effect you need to restart DECWindows.

$ @SYS$STARTUP:DECW$STARTUP RESTART
Shared linkage sections are in use on this system and images will not
be reinstalled.  If you are restarting DECwindows to reinstall images
then you must reboot the system.

Restarting the DECwindows Software stops everything displaying on your
workstation.  Do you really want to restart the DECwindows Software? y
Restarting DECwindows Software, server 0.  Please wait.
%RUN-S-PROC_ID, identification of created process is 0000021C
$ 

You can check the values by listing the contents of the ‘DECW$SERVER0_TABLE’ logical name table

$ SHOW LOGICAL/TABLE=DECW$SERVER0_TABLE
(DECW$SERVER0_TABLE)
"DECW$COLOR" = "TRUE"
"DECW$DEFAULT_FONT" = "FIXED"
"DECW$DEFAULT_KEYBOARD_MAP" = "BRITISH_LK444AE_PC"
"DECW$FONT" = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_CURSOR32]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.CURSOR32]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_CURSOR16]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.CURSOR16]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_100DPI]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.100DPI]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_75DPI]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.75DPI]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_COMMON]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.COMMON]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.SPEEDO]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_SPEEDO]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.TYPE1]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_TYPE1]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.TRUETYPE]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYSFONT.DECW.USER_TRUETYPE]"
"DECW$KEYBOARD" = "OPA2:"
"DECW$KEYMAP" = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYS$KEYMAP.DECW.USER]"
      = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYS$KEYMAP.DECW.SYSTEM]"
"DECW$MONITOR_DENSITY" = "100"
"DECW$POINTER" = "OPA3:"
"DECW$RGBPATH" = "SYS$MANAGER:DECW$RGB.DAT"
"DECW$SERVER_AUDIT_LEVEL" = "0"
"DECW$SERVER_BUG_COMPATIBILITY" = "Y"
"DECW$SERVER_DISABLE_BACKING_STORE" = "FALSE"
"DECW$SERVER_DISABLE_CH" = "N"
"DECW$SERVER_DISABLE_TEST" = "F"
"DECW$SERVER_ENABLE_ACCESSX" = "0"
"DECW$SERVER_EXTENSIONS" = "Xie"
      = "DEC-XTRAP"
      = "Multi-Buffering"
      = "SEC_XAG"
      = "GLX"
"DECW$SERVER_KEY_REPEAT_DELAY" = "660"
"DECW$SERVER_KEY_REPEAT_INTERVAL" = "40"
"DECW$SERVER_SCREENS" = "GHA0"
"DECW$SERVER_TRANSPORTS" = "DECNET"
      = "LOCAL"
"DECW$SERVER_XKEYBOARD_COMPILED_DIR" = "SYS$COMMON:[SYS$KEYMAP.XKB.COMPILED]"
"DECW$SERVER_XKEYBOARD_DIRECTORY" = "DECW$SYSCOMMON:[SYS$KEYMAP.XKB]"
"DECW$SERVER_XKEYBOARD_LOAD_MAP" = "0"
"DECW$SERVER_XKEYBOARD_MAP" = "DIGITAL_US_LK201"
"DECW$SYSCOMMON" = "SYS$SYSROOT"
"DECW$XPORT_LRP_SIZE" = "32768"
"DECW$XSIZE_IN_PIXELS" = "1920"
"DECW$YSIZE_IN_PIXELS" = "1200"
$ 

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