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Old Jan 17, 2007, 08:33 PM   #1
mkrishnan
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Disable external monitor?

Is there an easy way to cause a connected external monitor to be "disabled?" E.G. I have an iMac connected to an LCD TV (via VGA, spanned, external at 1360x768). If the TV is plugged in, even if it's off, the computer switches to spanning mode. The consequence of this is that, if my preferred setup is to have the external be main, for instance, I essentially have to unplug it from the iMac whenever I don't want to be using it. Even if the external is the 2ary dsplay, it means that the mouse can go off the edge of the screen on one side, and that two of the hot corners are messed up.

Is there any utility that could do something like add a "disable external display" item to preferences or the menu bar?

(Ironically, I was inspired to finally ask by another thread about someone who's Macbook won't respond on DVI... )
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Old Jan 18, 2007, 12:17 AM   #2
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I posted about a similar problem last week.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=269300

Basically turn on mirroring when you want to eliminate the secondary display. Perhaps that might help a bit?

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Old Jan 18, 2007, 12:25 AM   #3
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Ok, this is sort of a stumper for me too, but I was trying to think of simple solutions and thought... What happens when you just turn off the 2nd monitor? Anything?

Otherwise I got nothing.
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Old Jan 18, 2007, 12:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GimmeSlack12 View Post
What happens when you just turn off the 2nd monitor? Anything?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
If the TV is plugged in, even if it's off, the computer switches to spanning mode.
Plus, since the second display is a TV it is likely that the TV might be on but not on the Mac input sometimes when you want to use the Mac...

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Old Jan 18, 2007, 06:46 AM   #5
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Plus, since the second display is a TV it is likely that the TV might be on but not on the Mac input sometimes when you want to use the Mac...
That's a good point. Eeep, sorry I missed your thread!

The problem with mirroring is that my TV doesn't handle the same resolution my iMac uses.... Was that an issue for you? My iMac is a 17"-er -- so it uses the 1440x900 that you would never see on a TV....
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Old May 14, 2009, 01:11 PM   #6
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Two years later... same problem

Sorry to jumpstart an old thread, but I'm still having the same problem that you were two years ago. I have a 24" iMac connected to my VGA projector and I need to disable the display output when the projector is not on.

Mirroring doesn't work because the projector resolution is much lower than the iMac and forces the iMac into the corresponding lower resolution mode. Extended desktop leaves me with windows that sometimes end up on the other screen.

Has anything changed in 2.5 years?
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Old May 14, 2009, 03:45 PM   #7
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If not mistaken, there is a sub $20 program, SwitchRes X, that has an option to select which monitor will be "active" from it's menu. You may be able to deactivate either the external or the iMac's display, but I don't believe you can disable both, which would be an interesting choice.

Last edited by MTI; May 14, 2009 at 03:53 PM.
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Old May 14, 2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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could you not just unplug it? if its an iMac it's just a case of putting your hand underneath not like you have to climb behind the machine!
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Old Sep 11, 2009, 08:49 PM   #9
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I've got the same problem with my 24" iMac. I have a 46" TV above my iMac that i occasionally use as a secondary display. I usually just reach behind my iMac and plug in the miniDisplayPort adapter. Even in 10.6, I can't find a way to simply disable the external monitor. It's not like it's a huge problem, but I could imagine for someone with a Mac Pro or something that they don't have immediate access to; this could prove to be a problem.
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Old Sep 20, 2009, 07:14 AM   #10
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That's me with the Mac Pro then
I have started using a 19" additional display primarily for itunes video and tv sometimes but when I dont use it and switch the monitor off obviously the Mac thinks its still there and is awkward especially if you use spaces.
The only way for me is to clamber under the desk and unplug it.
Shame there isnt a simple option to disable the display in prefs.
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Old Dec 10, 2009, 11:08 AM   #11
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In the good old days™ when macos 10.2. Jaguar was still alive and kicking, there was and option in the displays menu to disable external monitor. I used it quite a lot, because i had tv connected to my powerbook. Then came 10.3. Panther and gone it was, never to be seen again. Thank you apple.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 01:32 AM   #12
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SwitchRes X works for disabling one monitor at a time without having to unplug a cable. Just what I needed.
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Old Jan 29, 2010, 02:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mluters View Post
SwitchRes X works for disabling one monitor at a time without having to unplug a cable. Just what I needed.
Does SwtichResX allow you to put your MacBook display unactive even if it's open?

I was searching for a software that shutdown the MBP main display when I'm using an external display
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Old Feb 3, 2010, 12:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mluters View Post
SwitchRes X works for disabling one monitor at a time without having to unplug a cable. Just what I needed.
This is really great, I was looking for something like this for a long time,

thanx!!!
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Old Mar 17, 2010, 06:11 PM   #15
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SwitchRes X works for disabling one monitor at a time without having to unplug a cable. Just what I needed.
I am trying SwitchResX and I cannot find any options for turning off/disabling the second monitor. I have downloaded the latest version.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 07:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by iHateMacs View Post
I am trying SwitchResX and I cannot find any options for turning off/disabling the second monitor. I have downloaded the latest version.
Just found this thread, seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. I think what you're looking for is shown near the bottom of this page on the dev's homesite;

http://www.madrau.com/functions/menus/menus.html
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 07:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by bellang View Post
Just found this thread, seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. I think what you're looking for is shown near the bottom of this page on the dev's homesite;

http://www.madrau.com/functions/menus/menus.html
That's cool -- I don't think SwitchResX had that feature 3.5 years ago, when I posted this thread. Now I don't have the problem anymore (because I have a different computer dedicated to my TV), but it's nice to know there's a really effective solution!
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 09:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
That's cool -- I don't think SwitchResX had that feature 3.5 years ago, when I posted this thread. Now I don't have the problem anymore (because I have a different computer dedicated to my TV), but it's nice to know there's a really effective solution!
Yup, just installed it, and does exactly what I needed. I'm the same as you, dont think the functionality existed a while ago, but now its all good!
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Old Aug 21, 2011, 05:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by bellang View Post
Yup, just installed it, and does exactly what I needed. I'm the same as you, dont think the functionality existed a while ago, but now its all good!
There is a free program called Shades that does essentially the same thing and it's free.

http://www.charcoaldesign.co.uk/shades
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