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Recovering from invalid resolution settings System
i got 10.1 on Saturday from Comp USA, and came home to install it over my 10.0.4 install. it took forever, but seemed to work ok. I logged into my existing account, and opened the System Prefs to change the monitor settings to 1600x1200, which is the resolution i prefer. i guess i accidentally selected 1600x1200 @85Hz, because it kicked me into the monitor's "Out of Scan Range" screen. In earlier versions of the Mac OS, holding down the mouse button would bring back the previous setting. not so in OS X.

i could no longer use OS X, because it kept booting the computer up in an invalid range and i couldn't see the OS to change the resolution. The mac has handled this kind of thing far more elegantly than Windows for at least a decade - to revert to this kind of unintuitive behavior is just inexcusable.

in any case, i could not do a thing to make this work. zapping the PRAM no longer resets the monitor values to a default like 640x480, and disconnecting the monitor, shutting down, booting, shutting down, plugging in the monitor and booting didn't do it either. After asking around on another BBS, i was able to get the system back. deleting the file:


while in 9.2 and rebooting into X worked fine. It inherited the settings from 9.2, and i'm now working from 10.1 again.


December 20 2001 Update: An alternative method of solving this problem is to restart with the shift key down during a reboot - this seems to now indicate to OS X "reset the monitor at startup" instead of "disable extensions". This solution courtesy of this thread on the MacNN forums.
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Damn - Wish I'd known that sooner. . . .
Authored by: smokeylonesome on Oct 01, '01 06:26:37PM

Hell Yes !

Tried the "Classic" version of Quake 1.30 under OS X.1,
threw my monitor into an unuseable mode as well.

Ok -> I got drastic; after a re-install of 10.1 didn't fix the issue
(esp. after trying all the original "tricks" to restore a useable monitor)

SO - I did a TOTAL clean install. Reformatted the drive, 10.0.4 all the way to 10.1
That fixed it & took plenty of time to do.
And killed my address book/user prefs/dock apps & totchkes


Great tip - tho. Thanks in hindsight.

p.s. Hey Apple, how bout a key combo that "unconditionally quits the frontmost app
and returns the user to the Finder (ideally in a safe monitor resolution)" for OS X ?
Keying blind really sucks serious ass.

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Me three...
Authored by: deanlewis on Oct 01, '01 09:26:24PM

Just as a note, I am having this problem as well and am searching for whether there is a fix or not. Here is some info in case it helps us figure out the real fix:

G4/400 AGP
16MB Rage Pro
704MBs RAM
OS X 10.1 (obviously :^) )
Sony 17" trinitron monitor (and, yes, I need a new one anyway)
--set usually at 1280x768, millions of colors, 75Hz

I have found that the Display panel doesn't show all of the resolutions OS 9.1 shows, and the Hz ratings certainly aren't the same. The odd thing is that the Display menu in the top menubar does seem to show the proper resolutions and refresh rates except that it is still missing 640x480.

When in the Display panel, waiting a short time seems to return the display to its prior settings (probably because of the timed save request). However, a game I ran does not do this. Luckily a CMD-Q took me out of the game and back to the prior screen resolution and desktop, but I'm worried something will leave me hanging like the author of this thread had. I'm glad I can go in through 9.1 and delete that file at least, but it'd be nice to have a bit better display handling.

I look forward to other info others might be able to find or figure out!

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Alternative fix...
Authored by: robg on Oct 04, '01 10:31:30AM
If you have more than one machine and they're networked, you can fix this by using a remote control program such as Timbuktu or (my choice) OSXvnc. The nice thing about OSXvnc is that it can be started from the command line. So when I blacked my monitor (by selecting a too high refresh rate, which instantly took effect permanently - argh!), I did the following: SSH'd in from my iBook and launched OSXvnc from the command line ( -rfbport portnumber). Then I quit the SSH session and launched my VNC client and connected to the now remotely-controllable dead screen Mac. The last step is too open the Displays panel, select a valid refresh rate, and watch the screen come back to life on the Mac. Saves a reboot and keeps that all important "uptime" stat going ;-). -rob.

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An alternative solution
Authored by: robg on Dec 20, '01 09:33:18AM

If you hold the shift key down at startup, OS X will reset the monitor configuration to a default value. I've added this tip to the main body of this hint, along with the reference to the MacNN forum where it was first discussed. Adding this comment just to move the hint to the top of the "What's New?" box. :-)

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Rebooting in 9.X
Authored by: stevo on Apr 28, '02 01:06:04PM

I ran into the "out ot scan range" problem on my new G4 733 which is hooked up to my old Apple 20" monitor. It took me three hours of researching on the net and trying all sorts of things until I found the trick about deleting the trick. The "boot with shift key down" solution seems the most elegant solution, but here are two other things I discovered that may help in other scenarios:

1. you can hold dowm command-S on startup to get into console mode before the screen resolution settings are applied.

2. of all the CDs that came with my G4, only the OS 9 Install CD allowed me to get to the desktop where I was able to move the file to another location.

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Recovering from invalid resolution settings
Authored by: vman on Mar 07, '03 09:34:36PM



I also needed to trash


then it worked fine.
Otherwise the resolution changed back to the invalid just before the
finder finished loading...maybe because of Jaguar, or because I had
auto-logon enabled.

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Recovering from invalid resolution settings
Authored by: melban on Jun 23, '04 03:39:22PM

I have a G3 with unkown speed, ram, HD etc. IT Department just put 10.3.1 on it and after I did security updates, isntalled IE 5.3, Mozilla 1.7.x and the machine restarted itselft the display has never come back up. i've tried to ctrl-s on startup, holding down shift as well to no avail. does anyone have any ideas ? Thanks

smelban at smwebdesigns dot com

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