Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Remove phantom external monitor from iBook System
I had been reading in a few forums and in the apple discussion groups about a problem with the iBook where it was thinking that an external display was connected when there was none present. I recently (last night, while trying to study for finals) had this happen to me and it was a major PITA. The problem continued today and having no Applecare Support I decided to poke around and see if I could figure out the problem. What follows is a description of the problem and what i did to fix it.

PROBLEM: The display randomly fades in and out and resizes the 1024X768 display into a 640X480 window surrounded by black. Checking the Display section in System Preferences shows the display settings for "Color VGA" and "Color LCD." Setting the "COLOR VGA" display to 1024X768 @ 85Mhz resolves the 640X480 window problem, but the fading in and out persists.

  1. Turn off the computer
  2. Hold down Option+Command+P+R and turn on the computer. This is the parameter RAM reset key combination.
  3. You will hear the Mac "ding." Continue to hold down this key combination until you hear four "ding" sounds. This zaps the PRAM
  4. Immediately after the fourth "ding," hold down Option+Command+O+F to boot into open firmware.
  5. Type the reset-nvram and hit return, then type reset-all and hit return.
  6. Now, hold down Option-S to boot into the command line in single-user mode
  7. Type fsck -y and hit return. This will run a file system check. My check resulted in two errors in the multi-linked files.
  8. If you get any sort of error, keep running fsck -y until the check returns no errors on the volume. If you see everything is OK, proceed to the next step.
  9. Type exit and hit return.
The Computer will now boot into OS X. Check the Display section in System Preferences again and if all goes well, you should only have 1 pannel for "Color LCD."
  • Currently 1.00 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (1 vote cast)

Remove phantom external monitor from iBook | 8 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Remove phantom external monitor from iBook' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Remove phantom external monitor from iBook
Authored by: MasterUltan on May 02, '03 10:57:58AM

I believe reset-nvram is equivalent to "zapping the P-RAM". If
anyone knows what variables are not reset by zapping said P-
RAM, please enlighten. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remove phantom external monitor from iBook
Authored by: ahalvor on May 02, '03 11:11:46AM

that is totally correct, and in newer macs (read: post-1998) you
dont need to reset the PRAM. This user that submitted the
report could have just reset the nvram. They did everything
except boot into safe mode, ;-) Overkill, but it worked. The
nvram should be reset for any video anomaly, this is most
commonly the cause.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remove phantom external monitor from iBook
Authored by: zygote on May 02, '03 01:37:17PM

I had this problem in OS 9 on an iBook 800, but not when
booting the same machine into 10.2.5.

Tried all the fixes the poster noted, but nothing worked until I
pulled the System Folder and reinstalled. However the issue
returned. Still fighting it. Any thoughts?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remove phantom external monitor from iBook
Authored by: milhouse on May 04, '03 11:17:54PM

I had this problem under OS9 only and untill today. I loaded the Mac OS software restore CD #1 and enabled invisible folders under OS X with tinkertool. I launched the .dmg of OS9 from the (normally) hidden .images folder on teh CD.

I navigated to the system preferences and copied all of the ATI and OpenGl preferences from the CD to the classic system preferences folder.

Next I booted to OS9 and the monitor was back to normal, with a full screen as a single monitor. :)


[ Reply to This | # ]
Doesn't work for me
Authored by: Paul Burney on May 02, '03 03:26:33PM

This tip doesn't work for me, though my problem is a bit
different. At work we have a snow ibook that thinks it's an
external monitor. The resolutions available are 640x480,
800x600,1024x768, each in both PAL and NTSC.

The problem is that the machine won't play DVD's like that. It
just gives a blank dark green screen, while the audio part works
fine. Even after trying the above, I get the same resolution

My BigAl has options under the display menu like:
640 x 480
800 x 600

I'm pretty sure the iBook is supposed to look like that as well.

I can't find the dongle right now that allows me to hook up an
external monitor, but I hope that might fix it.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remove phantom external monitor from iBook
Authored by: bambideer on May 02, '03 05:23:15PM

You can usually dump the phantom monitor by hitting the "detect displays" button in the Displays panel.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remove phantom external monitor from TiBook
Authored by: isaac_ho on Jul 18, '03 10:40:28PM

I am using a Ti Powerbook, 400MHz G4 model. I follow the instructions but can't remove the phantom external monitor. Is this method work on Ti Book? If not, would you like to tell me how to do that?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Remove phantom external monitor from TiBook
Authored by: bonaccij on Nov 05, '03 03:48:58PM

The only fix I have found for this is removing the video drivers (ATI) and reinstalling the drivers. Worked like a charm - got rid of all of the phantom displays we had.

Jeffrey Bonacci
ACD, Partner
Manik Grafik

[ Reply to This | # ]