View Full Version : Noob post - powerbook G4 won't display anything but desktop

Jun 23, 2009, 01:47 PM
Hey all,

I had a Powerbook G4 17" from 2003, running 10.4.x (Tiger). The screen died about 6 months ago. (It will actually work for about 1 minute before fading out, but anyway...)

So we hooked up a 20" flat panel with a DVI cable and life was swell. Until a massive hardware failure, still not sure what. I hooked up an external drive which had a bootable copy made with SuperDuper and it worked, except when I hooked it up to the external monitor the external monitor doesn't work right.

For the 1-5 minutes the laptop screen works, it works perfectly normally. But the external display will only display whatever the background screen is and nothing else. So while the laptop display has white screen/grey apple, the external monitor has white screen.

After logging in, the external monitor has a lovely picture of my son (the background I set up before hard drive problem) and I can see the mouse move on it, but I have no taskbar and none of the icons/folders on the desktop. I know they are there since I can see them for a few seconds on the laptop monitor before it dies.

FWIW, I have tried hooking up the monitor with a DVI-A/VGA adapter as well as the DVI cable that I had used successfully before hard drive failure.


ps I erased the original powerbook hard drive and used SuperDuper to migrate a bootable copy back to the powerbook. Same problem.

Jun 23, 2009, 01:50 PM
No offense meant but I'd give it up to the graveyard.

Jun 23, 2009, 01:51 PM
It's times like these I really wish I had a Mac right beside me. Then I could give you the right terms and instructions.

I think what's happening is that your external monitor is being used to extend your desktop area rather than duplicate it. This can be fixed in the display preferences. Once you open the display preferences up it shouldn't take that long to figure out the two monitor setup.

Designer Dale
Jun 23, 2009, 02:08 PM
Like it says up there^^^. As soon as you log in on the laptop screen, go to System Preferences/Display Preferences and click Arrange. If the Turn Mirroring On box is not checked, either check it or drag the menu bar part of the two screen display to the external. That will either put the menu on both screens (Mirroring) or on your external (Extended Desktop). If not, then you have larger issues to deal with.


Jun 23, 2009, 02:30 PM
It's set up as an extended desktop. Evidently that's standard when two displays are available on a powerbook.

Basically I have to hope the display can stay up on the laptop long enough to set up mirrored display again.

Or go "fishing" and hope to draw the preferences window into the other display.