Blank Desktop on ancient powerbook 540c

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by esdempsey, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. esdempsey macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2006
    Well, it all started with me trying to attach a monitor to a powerbook 540c laptop that no longer had a working screen display.

    I bought a DB15 to VGA adapter, and then tried to make the monitor work by trying endless permutations of DIP switch settings on the DB15 adapter.

    At one point I had the desktop icons that should have been showing in the lower corner just barely visible in the upper corner. No apple menu etc. but half a trash can.

    Several restarts with new DIP switch settings later, the only thing I can get is a desktop wallpaper. I have used the rebuild desktop command and the zap PRAM command. no changes.

    I have no idea what I did to send this situation from bad to worse -- I'm just wondering if there is a veteran, wizened, gray-haired Oby-wan of Macs out there who has a suggestion or procedure for reboot that might make this situation better.

    I took the laptop over to a used computer store, where they let me borrow an old Mac monitor for a while to see if it was just an issue of not being able to hook up through the VGA-DB15 adapter. No luck.

    Even with an old Apple monitor, all I get is wallpaper and no icons.

    Anyone have a clue?

  2. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    Is the wallpaper distorted at all or is it perfect? Out of curiosity, which wallpaper is it? I'm pretty sure I know all the common Mac OS 7 and Mac OS 8 ones by heart.

    Before you see the "wallpaper" - surely you must see the "Welcome to Mac OS" or something to that effect. If you don't, then you're not looking at wallpaper.

    If you *do* see the "Welcome to Macintosh" or something similar, restart again and hold down shift to start in extensions-disabled mode.
  3. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    If you have a Mac with a floppy drive, or an OS X Mac with a classic environment and a USB Floppy drive, you can download a boot disk from my website here:

    You'd want the one for 68k Macs with a SCSI drive. I believe that is Disk Tools 1.

    BTW - are you sure the brightness and contrast settings are'nt set completely off on the display?
  4. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    With 512k of VRAM, your PowerBook isn't going to play nicely with just any monitor (even if it is a "Mac" monitor). You have a limited choice of resolutions that will work... 640x480, 800x600 and 832x624. If you don't have a monitor that supports any of those, then no amount of playing with it will help.

    Ideally you would want either an Apple 12" or 14" display (640x480) or maybe an Apple 16" display (832x624) if you are connecting to a "Mac" monitor. For a generic VGA display you'll need one that supports either 640x480 or 800x600... and you'll have to set the dips on the adaptor correctly for this.

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