I have solved the problem of lack of usable choices of screen resolution when operating "Ubuntu" inside "virtual box" (which is running on your windows PC - as rolled out with the DVD from Linux Format Mag "Building a great website
"). It was annoying to not be able to operate the Virtual Box window at my 1680x1050 resolution.
The clue was in reading the pdf that came with VirtualBox (or view the help file contents in Virtual box). Reading section 4 talks about "guest additions" which need to be installed to enable better video resolutions and other stuff. It seems hard at first if you don't know linux (like me) but here are some simple instructions.
1. Start Virtual box and log into Ubuntu.
2. Hit the right ctrl key so you can get your mouse pointer outside the virtual machine.
3.Go to top of virtual window, click on devices then select "Install Guest Additions"
You will see a window pop up inside Ubuntu showing you that there are some new files mounted in a virtual CDROM drive. One of those files should be VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
You must run the file with some admin permissions so do that this way...
4. Click inside the Ubuntu screen again then go to Applications - Accessories then Terminal. The terminal window is where you will run the file from, but first we must navigate to the correct directory.
5. type this... cd /media/cdrom0 (then hit enter, there is a space after cd!)
6. next type... dir (You should see amongst the files displayed VBoxLinuxAdditions.run)
7. now type... sudo sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run (yes, that is a full stop before the slash!)
after you hit enter and it has done its stuff, the files are now accessable from Ubuntu.
8. You now need to reboot the virtual machine or press Ctrl+Alt+backspace.
9. Log onto the Ubuntu desktop and this time go to System - Preferences then Screen Resolution. You should now have more options than the three low res options you had at the beginning of the day!
If you are happy then H.A.N.D (have a nice day)... otherwise...
Still not happy because your favourite resolution is not one of the newly listed ones then follow these steps...
1. Open the terminal window again (Applications - Accessories then Terminal)
2. Type... sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf (space after gedit and X11 must be capital X)
3. It will ask you for a password which is the same as you log in with.
4. The text editor loads and you should see a lot of text in the window. First make a backup of this file by going to "file" then "save as" and changing the filename to xorgbak.conf
5. You now need to hunt through the text until you see the display resolutions listed. The ones you will be concerned about will be listed under bit depth 24 or bit depth 16 (as these depths are the ones that give you a large amount of colors.)
6. The idea here is to have your favorite screen resolution included in this list. Do this by either inserting it before the other listed resolutions in the exact same manner or typing it over one of the others. (you will only need to do this for the ones under bit depth 24 and 16)
7. You must now do a "save as" but be careful here as this time we need to call the file xorg.conf again. If you just hit save here you would have saved the changes over the backup file you created!
8. You are done. Hit Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart your virtual box, log in and enjoy your new screen resolution options!
Addendum..."Whoops I broke my Ubuntu install and it won't load again!"
If you broke your virtual machine follow these instructions:
1. Start Ubuntu loading and hit escape as soon as you see the "grub" loading screen.
2. Select one of the recovery options and wait for it to load to the prompt.
3. type... mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf mv /etc/X11/xorg1.conf (space after each mv) This is moving and renaming the file xorg.conf
4. You are done (almost). Ubuntu will boot properly next time you try, but you need to follow step 2, 3 and 4 from above, but remember, this time you will be loading the file called xorgbak.conf into the editor and when you go to save, use "save as" and call it xorg.conf