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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default [How To] Resolution Tweak (req. Root)

    Greetings folks!

    In this post I'd like to share a small bit of Android information with you. I've discovered it while looking around at the build.prop file and did some research on it, and it turns out to be a pretty cool and powerful feature. Of course, seeing as this requires root you can probably already guess that it involves some more-than-consumer level risk, so anything you do here is your responsibility. This is not a tweak for a fairly novice user. You will need some basic knowledge on command line terminal and how to copy/edit files. I will be assuming you know how to setup and run ADB, and how to execute it and work with it in command prompt.

    What's this mod do? Basically it changes your resolution (not really, but for simplicity sake we'll say it does) to a higher pixel density. What this means is everything on your screen will look smaller as if you changed your resolution on your PC to a higher setting. Now obviously we don't want to increase this too much or it will make our screen look bad and be impossible to read things, so I recommend you stick with the settings I have and only tweak it if you're daring.

    Now for setup:

    1: You require root access for this to work, so make sure you have it prior to doing anything else.

    2: Next you will need to get your build.prop file from the /system directory. An easy (and free) way to do this is to use Astro file manager. Open up Astro, navigate to /system/ and copy the build.prop file to the sdcard.

    3: Hook the phone up to your PC and enter USB Mass Storage mode. Open the drive on your computer and copy the build.prop file to the desktop.

    4: IMPORTANT: make a second copy of this file, and rename it to: build.prop.BAK - accept the change to filetype and leave it alone for now.

    5: Open up build.prop using notepad. Once its open you'll see a whole ton of text assuming you have Word Wrap enabled. Press Control + F and type in "density" then press enter.

    6: Close out the search menu and find the number "240" to the right of "density"

    7: Change the number from 240 to 200. Save the file and close notepad. (Note - higher numbers means bigger text/objects, smaller numbers means smaller text/objects allowing you to fit more on the screen)

    8: Put your phone back into PC Mode, and then enable USB Debugging in Settings->Applications->Development

    9: At this point I assume you have ADB setup on your PC. Copy and paste the modified build.prop file into the folder with ADB, and then open up a command prompt, change directory to wherever you have ADB installed (ex: cd C:\adb\ ), and type in "adb devices" without the quotes to start ADB and make sure your device is configured properly

    10: Now you must push the modified build.prop file to your sdcard. To do so type this in:

    adb push build.prop /sdcard/build.prop

    11: You should see the text indicating it successfully transferred the file. Now type in "adb shell" without quotes. You should see a $: appear. Once it does, type in "su" and it should change to a #: sign.

    12: Now that you're in root access, you must mount /system as read/write to copy over the new build.prop file. To do so type this in exactly as it is, making sure to not skip any spaces or use wrong letters/characters:

    mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/system /system

    You should see the line repeated and that means it went ok. If you get anything else like an error, somethings not right with the text you entered. Go back and double check it.

    13: Now we'll copy the file from the sdcard to the system directory to overwrite the old build.prop file:

    cp /sdcard/build.prop /system/build.prop

    Again, you should see the line repeat below to confirm it copied it successfully. You can now reboot the phone to make the changes happen (note: for a speedy reboot, simply type in "reboot" from the #: prompt, this will drop you out of root shell and do an automatic reboot of your phone pretty neat)

    Once your phone is booted back up you should notice some pretty significant changes in appearance. Everything will look smaller much akin to the changes you see on your desktop PC when you increase the resolution from say 800x600 to 1600x1200. In case you want to change it back to the old look, simply re-trace your steps using the original build.prop file, with the pixel density set to 240 instead of 200.

    Note that this isn't a perfect change and some apps will use the old pixel density. But it works just fine and makes navigating things like the Market or the Settings menu much easier as it shows a lot more info on the screen at once. Enjoy and please post any questions you may have!

    Screenshots for comparison. Note how lines of text are fully exposed in the new screenshots compared to the old ones, where it has to scroll/cut off text in App names etc:

    Old:..........................................................New:




    Last edited by DaRkL3AD3R; 08-31-2010 at 06:51 PM.
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon
    Cyanogen Mod 10.1 Nightlies
  2. #2  
    gafly's Avatar

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    From the pictures it appears the tweak causes some color banding. Is there actually color banding or is it just the picture?
    Galaxy Note II - Rooted - Black Status Bar w/WiFi Toggle
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

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    Yes, the color banding is caused by the increased pixel density. Hadn't noticed it until you mentioned it, but I could see how if you looked for it it'd distract your attention. Like I said, it is slightly buggy as its not "optimal" density. It all comes down to preference and whether the negatives (graphics glitches, mostly) outweigh the positives (increased visibility on the entire OS)
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon
    Cyanogen Mod 10.1 Nightlies
  4. #4  
    gafly's Avatar

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    I'm kinda OCD on color banding (my Storm makes me cringe sometimes lol and the color banding in the 2.2 Gallery drives me nuts too). Hum... I'm going to watch the President and contemplate whether or not to tweak.
    Galaxy Note II - Rooted - Black Status Bar w/WiFi Toggle
  5. #5  
    doctorlove316's Avatar
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    Saw this over on XDA but decided to pass on it.

    Especially since it has color banding. I can't stand that at all.

    It is a cool tweak though.

    I'd also point out that if you have Root Explorer, this may be easier...

    Method 2 - Root Explorer

    1. Copy the build.prop to the root of your SD card
    2. Long press on build.prop
    3. Select "Copy"
    4. Navigate to /system
    5. Click R/W in the top right corner
    6. Paste, and overwrite
    7. Reboot

    original post and file to DL .
    from LexusBrian400 over at XDA.
    Last edited by avlfive; 08-31-2010 at 07:11 PM.
    BlackBerry 8330 --> BlackBerry Storm1 --> Motorola Droid --> HTC Droid Incredible & Motorola Droid X & Motorola Xoom
  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

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    Quote Originally Posted by avlfive View Post
    Saw this over on XDA but decided to pass on it.

    Especially since it has color banding. I can't stand that at all.

    It is a cool tweak though.

    I'd also point out that if you have Root Explorer, this may be easier...

    Method 2 - Root Explorer

    1. Copy the build.prop to the root of your SD card
    2. Long press on build.prop
    3. Select "Copy"
    4. Navigate to /system
    5. Click R/W in the top right corner
    6. Paste, and overwrite
    7. Reboot

    from LexusBrian400 over at XDA.
    Yeah Root Explorer makes this significantly easier and user friendly. You pretty much don't even have to copy files, just edit the file right there in /system/ with Root Explorers file editor. However I chose to neglect it since its a paid app and I wanted this procedure to be 100% free all around. Plus its a learning exercise for some good practice makes perfect.

    Thanks for adding it though, for those with Root Explorer already it should help those who already paid.
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon
    Cyanogen Mod 10.1 Nightlies
  7. #7  
    doctorlove316's Avatar
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    It's a great app to have too. A must DL for root users, IMO.

    Are you planning on keeping the tweak on your device?
    BlackBerry 8330 --> BlackBerry Storm1 --> Motorola Droid --> HTC Droid Incredible & Motorola Droid X & Motorola Xoom
  8. Thread Author  Thread Author    #8  

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    Yep. The color banding doesn't phase me at all as its only noticeable if you look for it.

    Root Explorer... ehhh to me its nothing more than a GUI of what I can already do in ADB, and I like command line But I have heard nothing but good things for RE so maybe someday I'll get lazy and take the quick and easy way
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon
    Cyanogen Mod 10.1 Nightlies
  9. #9  
    gafly's Avatar

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    For the record, weatherbug elite widget does not like the "increased resolution" the forecasts are now overlapping


    FIX (SORTA): Disable background.
    Last edited by gafly; 08-31-2010 at 08:31 PM.
    Galaxy Note II - Rooted - Black Status Bar w/WiFi Toggle
  10. Thread Author  Thread Author    #10  

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    Quote Originally Posted by gafly View Post
    For the record, weatherbug elite widget does not like the "increased resolution" the forecasts are now overlapping
    Shame At least I can say that Beautiful Widgets works fine with it.

    Visual glitches are to be expected though. It's just not designed to do certain things.
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon
    Cyanogen Mod 10.1 Nightlies
  11. #11  

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    who wants to explain color banding? Thanks
  12. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTvert90 View Post
    who wants to explain color banding? Thanks
    BlackBerry 8330 --> BlackBerry Storm1 --> Motorola Droid --> HTC Droid Incredible & Motorola Droid X & Motorola Xoom
  13. #13  
    gafly's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTvert90 View Post
    who wants to explain color banding? Thanks
    Go take a look at the pictures in the first post - specifically the pictures of the market. Look at the grey header for the market. The headers in the pictures on the left look very smooth where as the headers in the pictures on the right do not look smooth (you can see various grays in the header).

    Galaxy Note II - Rooted - Black Status Bar w/WiFi Toggle
  14. #14  

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    Definitely easy with Root Explorer.

    Go to /System
    Enable R/W
    Long Press on build.prop and select open in File Editor
    Change the value (its not hard to find just look for 240)
    Hit the back button, it saves and automatically creates a backup file for you

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  15. #15  

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    I am using multicon to get more icons on each home screen. It makes the icons smaller so 4 or more icons fit in a single icon space. I can get 64 icons on each screen now. It doesn't help on the other screens like the market and such. It doesn't require hacking or rooting. Multicon is in the app store.
  16. #16  

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkelle4 View Post
    Definitely easy with Root Explorer.

    Go to /System
    Enable R/W
    Long Press on build.prop and select open in File Editor
    Change the value (its not hard to find just look for 240)
    Hit the back button, it saves and automatically creates a backup file for you

    After you made the changes, did you disable the R/W access on the system folder? When I do, mine reboots the phone and loses the changes.

    Doesn't seem to like this tweak on the HTC Incredible...

    UPDATE: Even leaving the R/W alone, rebooting takes it back to 240 every time.
    Last edited by belogical; 09-01-2010 at 11:03 AM.
  17. #17  
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    You can also just do this through a terminal emulator if you're feeling feisty and your particular build has a text editor (like nano) installed...

    Code:
    $ su
    # mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/system /system
    # nano /system/build.prop
    Edit file.

    Code:
    # reboot
    Enjoy

    Peter
  18. #18  

    Default Samsung Vibrant and alternative method

    OK this is how I did it without pluging the phone
    Neccesary apps
    Rooted (W/busybox installed)
    Astro (optional)
    Superuser Permission

    (All free)

    With Astro

    Copy file /system/build.prop to /sdcard/build.prop
    Make a second copy to a second location in sdcard for backup purposes
    edit build.prop in sdcard and change parameter as indicated
    Save changes

    from terminal

    $su
    wait for #
    # busybox cp /sdcard/build.prop /system/build.prop
    Restart
    DONE

    Without Astro

    Open Terminal

    $ su
    Wait for #

    # busybox cp /system/build.prop /sdcard/build.prop
    # busybox cp /system/build.prop /sdcard/build.prop.bak

    Edit build.prop in SD CARD with any Text Editor installed and change line
    ending in "density=240" to density=200
    Save

    from terminal again
    $ su

    # busybox cp /sdcard/build.prop /system/build.prop

    Restart
    DONE
  19. #19  

    Default Issue

    In Samsung Vibrant (Rooted) with Touchwiz
    Density in 200, Other than the Widget issues (not biggie) icons align to left but it does not allows toadd extra row of icons (vertical or horizontal lines) making it look not very nice....
    I tried with 180 without success.
    If possible to change the size of the Touchwiz config and resize de screens it would work nicely i guess at 200
    at 180, letters in some apps (Terminal for example) are just too small (although I can read it i have 20/20 vision)
  20. #20  
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    LCD density in the market does this...much easier than editing the file yourself.
  21. #21  
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    sweet tweak, but, honestly, i kinda gave up after trying for a few hours. yes, pro is text sharper, screen bigger (since everything gets smaller). But....cons are little more than pros here. for text on the menu, most of cap letter could be cut both top and bottom, widgets looks not fully filling in the screen(e.g, Beautiful Widget, looks not that good with 200 density, no animation for weather then). Personally, i back to 240 now, cannot give up widget looks.

    NOTES, a few friends tried LCD_Density app, if you decided to refund, you still have to manually change build.pro. So backup, backup, backup before any mod.
  22. #22  

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    So has anyone seen graphical artifacts in widgets besides beautiful widgets? I like this idea...
    Fission 1.1t4 X - Rooted Overclocked/Undervolted
  23. Thread Author  Thread Author    #23  

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Poblano View Post
    So has anyone seen graphical artifacts in widgets besides beautiful widgets? I like this idea...
    It's not so much a graphical artifact with BW, its the fact that you lose functionality in pressing the weather icon and loading up the 5 day forecast. It vibrates on the first press but for some reason doesn't load when you have the dpi modded. I DID notice that when I set LauncherPro to 5 row icons and in landscape mode, the dpi mod fixes Beautiful Widgets overlapping things beneath it.

    So this hack seems very situational. If I find any other artifacts I'll post up.
    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on Verizon
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