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Reset an 'out of range' second display System
Ok I'll admit it -- I was messing around on my laptop with a second screen attached, and I set the frequency for the second screen to a value that was out of range for the monitor. The monitor was fine, but the laptop did not realize the that screen was not displaying anything and so would not revert back.

No problem, I thought -- unplug the screen and then plug it back in, and this would reset things and all would be well. But no! The laptop remembered the screen and set it straight back to the undisplayable resolution. Setting it to mirrored and back also did not clear it; neither did a reboot.

To cut the story short ... go to the Displays System Prefs panel and click on the option to show the monitors in the menu bar. Now you can go to the menu bar (on the functional laptop display) and reset the frequency/resolution for the second screen back to something displayable.
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Reset an 'out of range' second display
Authored by: leebennett on Jun 28, '04 06:19:20PM

Not sure about older OS versions, but in Panther, I think this tip will only work if you have the setting turned on that remembers X number of recent modes in the menubar icon.



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Reset an 'out of range' second display
Authored by: lpp on Jun 28, '04 09:14:29PM
Also, you can use the cscreen utility to alter your resolution settings.

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Another display configuration utility
Authored by: barryjaylevine on Jun 28, '04 10:19:18PM

DisplayConfigX will yield new resolutions at higher refresh rates that what OSX will provide. I needed to use this when 10.3.4 "lost" a number of resolutions on my Samsung 955df. You can find DisplayConfigX at versiontracker and macupdate. It's shareware ($12) and is the best $$ I ever spent on my Mac.

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Reset ANY 'out of range' display
Authored by: romulis on Jun 29, '04 07:47:28AM

WARNING: The Displays menu bar doesn't check that the resolutions/refresh rates actually match the screen you have plugged in (but the preference pane does). If you plug in a new screen, the displays menu may have entries from your previous screen, which don't work with the new one. If you select a resolution which the screen can't handle, OSX blindly obliges, your screen goes black, and there's no easy way to select another resolution (unless you can use your mouse without seeing the screen :-)

I accidentally did this a few months ago (G5, Panther, TFT screen that doesn't handle anything above 60Hz). By plugging in the old display I could see what I was doing, but as soon as I plugged in the new one, OSX switched to the previous setting for the new display - which was, in this case, no good. (This is however a brilliant feature if you have a PB which you use in several locations! It even remembers if the display was to the left or right of the laptop, and which background you had on each of the different external screens!)

After much rebooting, zapping nvram and pushing reset buttons on the mainboard etc, without success, I realised that the safe-boot from MacOS 7,8,9 still works in OSX.

Simply hold down the shift key while booting, and your mac will re-sync itself with its environment (ie: check the screen) and you're back in business.

Now that OSX is so stable I had completely forgotten about shift-booting. I guess that's also a sign of quality ;-)



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