Eee PC School #3: EZ Desktop Mode Mod

Build a pocket-sized gadget that lets you change your display mode for less than $5

EZ Desktop Mode Mod Deluxe

Dave Prochnow

This little gimmick has been in graphics design studios for years: a clever way to bring a wayward menu bar back from a dual monitor setup without plugging in a second monitor. Essentially, by shorting pins 1 (red video signal out) and 6 (red ground), and 3 (blue video signal out) and 8 (blue ground) on a 15-pin VGA adapter, you can mislead the PC into -- erroneously -- detecting the presence of a second monitor. Then it's just a matter of dragging the menu bar back onto the correct display.

That was then; this is now. Using the same trick, you can enable different display modes on the Eee PC. And you have three price levels to choose from: ghetto (free), bargain basement ($3), and deluxe ($5).

TIME: 1 hour

COST: free (ghetto), $2.45 (bargain), $4.18 (deluxe)

DIFFICULTY: EZ

PARTS

STEPS

1. Make a U-turn or two. Bend two short lengths of scrap wire into U shapes. Plug one U into pins 1 and 6 of the Eee PC VGA adapter. Plug the other wire U into pins 3 and 8 of the adapter.

Or: 1. Step it up a notch. Solder pins 1 and 6 of the male plug together. Likewise, solder pins 3 and 8 together. Both of these solder joints should be made on the inside of the male plug.

2. Come together. Assemble the male plug inside your selected DB-9 hood.

3. Jeepers peepers. Plug your new EZ Desktop Mode Mod into the Eee PC VGA adapter. (This step has already been performed in Step 1 for ghetto users.)

EZ Desktop Mode Mod

Dave Prochnow

4. Behold, more screen real estate. Start your Eee PC and launch the Xandros OS. Select the Settings tab and click on Desktop Mode. While the resolution options are not available on a stock Eee PC, with this EZ Desktop Mode Mod you will have 7 choices of screen resolution (ranging from 640x350 to 1024x768).

5. The way we were. You can return your Eee PC to its native resolution (e.g., 800x480) by rebooting and removing the EZ Desktop Mode Mod VGA adapter.

Be careful using the higher resolution settings. For example, at a setting of 800x600 or 1024x768 you will lose sight of your taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Also, at resolutions lower than 640x480, the Eee PC will generate an error message that it is unable to make that"requested change." Not to worry, though: just unplug the EZ Desktop Mode Mod VGA adapter, restart the Eee PC, and you'll be right back to the default display resolution.