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fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
I did a brief search but couldn't come up with any answers for my problem. I installed switchresx earlier today and set a custom resolution of 1680x1050 for my monitor at home. Well dumb me accidently selected that resolution a few minutes ago and now my screen is black. I know everything still works but I don't have a clue how to get it back. I am clueless when it comes to macs or computers for that matter. Any help greaty be appriciated.
 

Chase R

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,279
81
PDX
I would first try to reboot while holding down Command+Option+P+R. You will hear the startup "bong" two times. This will zap the PRAM, which could possibly solve your problem.
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
yeah sorry I wasn't very clear. I have a Alum. macbook. I will try the restart.

I would first try to reboot while holding down Command+Option+P+R. You will hear the startup "bong" two times. This will zap the PRAM, which could possibly solve your problem.

tried this and saw the apple logo on the white screen but then just booted back to the black screen.
 

Chase R

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,279
81
PDX
tried this and saw the apple logo on the white screen but then just booted back to the black screen.

Hmmmm...

Maybe try booting into single user mode and running FSCK

- Restart holding down Command+S
- Type "fsck -f", and hit return.
- Once complete type "reboot" and hit return to reboot.

Also when you plug in an external monitor, does anything happen?
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
Hmmmm...

Maybe try booting into single user mode and running FSCK

- Restart holding down Command+S
- Type "fsck -f", and hit return.
- Once complete type "reboot" and hit return to reboot.


When I typed that it said command not found so I just typed reboot and tried but still no sucess. I'm starting to get a little worried now.

Also when you plug in an external monitor, does anything happen?


I'm actually waiting on apple to deliver the mdp to dvi adapter. It won't be here till tomorrow. I just wanted to go ahead and create a custom resolution so it would be ready to go. I thinking now that wasn't such a good idea. I have nowhere to take my laptop. Nearest Apple store is 5 hrs away
 

alphaod

Contributor
Feb 9, 2008
22,181
1,234
NYC
Boot up in safe mode (holding Shift during boot).

See if you can reset the display resolution after boot.
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
Boot up in safe mode (holding Shift during boot).

See if you can reset the display resolution after boot.


I'm not sure how long I'm suposed to hold shift, but nothing hapened. When I close the shell, it doesn't go to sleep so I guess it's doing something. But still black screen.
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
Spoke to apple care on the phone and he walked me through everything you guys said and still no luck. I made an appointment with a local authorized dealer. He said if it was hardware related that apple would cover it but if it was software, the bill would be on me. I really don't want to have to pay anything? What do you guys think?
 

alphaod

Contributor
Feb 9, 2008
22,181
1,234
NYC
I really don't want to have to pay anything? What do you guys think?

Can you even see whats on the display before you boot the computer into OS X, like can you see the gray screen?

If you can, then we can safely conclude it's software. If you can't then it probably hardware.
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
Every time I try to zap the pram it boots to the grey screen with the apple logo. Once in OSX the screen is black. I can adjust the volume, sound and can even tell my hot corners are working but the screen is black and there is no curser

With a normal boot though the grey screen doesn't even appear.
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
I'm a firefighter on shift and didn't bring my restore DVD in. What should I do though to reboot it using the DVD. I haven't tried resetting the SMC yet
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
I would first try to reboot while holding down Command+Option+P+R. You will hear the startup "bong" two times. This will zap the PRAM, which could possibly solve your problem.

To zap the PRAM, you need to hold down those keys for a total of three startup chimes.

Maybe try booting into single user mode and running FSCK

This would help with a disk problem, but not with an improperly configured display problem.

To fix your resolution problem:

1) Restart into single user mode
- Restart while holding Command+S
- You'll see a whole bunch of text fly by

By default, your hard drive is mounted as read-only. To change this...
2) Type "/sbin/fsck -fy" (without the quotes)
- This will run a File System ChecK, -Force run, -answer Yes to all questions

3) That should report back something like "Macintosh HD is OK!" or whatever. If it doesn't say your hard drive is OK, then run the command again until it does. (However, because you don't have a disk problem, this is most likely just a formality before you can mount your hard drive)

Now that we've determined the hard drive is clean, let's mount it read/write
4) Type "/sbin/mount -wu /"
-This will Mount, -Write access, -Update the already mounted filesystem /

5) Figure out your short user name by typing "ls /Users/"; you'll need it in the next step.
- This will LiSt /Users/
- You'll see "Shared" and some number of other users. Choose the one that belongs to your account. If there's only one other one there, well, that makes it easy.

We want to delete the "com.apple.windowserver.XXXXXXX.plist" file, where the Xs represent your computer's hardware MAC address.
6) Type "rm /Users/<<<the short username from the step above>>>/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.w"<<<now, hit the tab key to autocomplete the rest of the file>>>
- This ought to fill in the rest of the line with the filename, if it doesn't, post here and I'll update the instructions accordingly

7) Type "shutdown -r now"
-This will Shutdown, -Restart type down, at time Now.
 
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fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
Mechcozmo,
It won't let me restart in single user mode. I've tried a few times now. It let me earlier but it hasn't since. I'm running out of things to do. Do I have a major problem or can this easily be fixed.

I'm still not sure if I have a hardware or software issue. I appologize, but I'm not sure how to describe what's wrong.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
Mechcozmo,
It won't let me restart in single user mode. I've tried a few times now. It let me earlier but it hasn't since. I'm running out of things to do. Do I have a major problem or can this easily be fixed.

I'm still not sure if I have a hardware or software issue. I appologize, but I'm not sure how to describe what's wrong.

What happens when you try to restart in single user mode? This isn't using any resolution settings you may have messed with, so it should show something...
Do you hear anything? See anything on the screen? Do any lights flicker? Has this all been on battery power, or is it connected to the mains? (There is no power management in single-user mode, hence your battery will drain much more quickly even sitting idle as compared to Mac OS idling.)
 

fireman13

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 12, 2008
272
21
Florida Panhandle
It has been on battery. Will It not work on battery?
There is no lights flickering it's black. I can here the computer working but it doesn't sound unsual or anything. The computer seems to be running normally, I just can't see anything.
The screen is like viewing a black web page and then turning the brightness all the way up. Sorry if this doesn't make sense.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
It has been on battery. Will It not work on battery?
There is no lights flickering it's black. I can here the computer working but it doesn't sound unsual or anything. The computer seems to be running normally, I just can't see anything.
The screen is like viewing a black web page and then turning the brightness all the way up. Sorry if this doesn't make sense.

Perhaps the battery has just been run down a bit much? Try plugging it in and seeing what happens when you try to start into Single User mode.
 

Chase R

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,279
81
PDX
It has been on battery. Will It not work on battery?
There is no lights flickering it's black. I can here the computer working but it doesn't sound unsual or anything. The computer seems to be running normally, I just can't see anything.
The screen is like viewing a black web page and then turning the brightness all the way up. Sorry if this doesn't make sense.

Somehow you need to get rid of the .plist file like what Mechcozmo said.

I would just wait 'til your external monitor adapter comes and fix it with that.
 

bbruemmer

macrumors newbie
Apr 17, 2009
6
0
This just happened to me on Wednesday. I spent an hour trying everything i knew (PRAM, .plist, PMU, FSCK, etc.) to fix it and another hour on the phone with Apple Care and couldn't fix it. The Apple Care tech recommended I boot from the OSX install disk and do an archive and install. Thankfully that fixed it and I didn't lose anything other than some time.

Give it a shot, hopefully it'll work for you too.

Brian
 

sreudianflip

macrumors newbie
Sep 8, 2006
2
0
I've got the same problem! Yikes.

I'm now trying the reinstall with archive....hope this works. I was able to reboot into os 9...but no go with deleting the .plist. This didnot work.
:(
 

misterredman

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2007
723
0
From the SwitchResX FAQ:

Q: I've defined a new resolution and rebooted, and the system boots with a black screen. Is my monitor destroyed ? How can I go back to the light ?

A: First, try to reboot in safe mode. To do that, turn your system off, then restart. When you hear the startup tone, hold down the shift key. Release the shift key when you see the "spinning gear" on the startup screen.
The file named Library/Preferences/com.apple.windowserver.plist contains the resolution that the System tries to use at startup. Deleting this file helps generally. If this solves the problem during the reboot, but not in your user account, a similar file named "com.apple.windowserver.XXXXX.plist" exists in your own /Users/yourname/Library/Preferences/ByHost folder. You can remove this file to get back the standard resolution in your user account.
If nothing above works, try to press the "reset" or "factory defaults" button in SwitchResX Control for your monitor. This will delete all changes that you have made for this monitor.
As a last resort, if you can't even start SwitchResX itself, you'll have to delete the monitor profile that you modified when you created a new custom resolution. This file is located in /System/Library/Displays/Overrides/ and is the last modified file, that you can find if you sort by date. You should remove this file, if you can access the file system, either by
1) accessing the file system from an other Mac on the network, from ssh or by mounting a shared folders.
2) OR starting up in single user mode (or safe mode)
3) OR at last resort: reinstalling the OS above the existing install, which will keep your existing profiles, but remove the system modified files.

http://www.madrau.com/html/SRX/FAQ.html
 

mich3lang3lo

macrumors newbie
Feb 4, 2011
1
0
Switchresx

I am sorry but from the start of this topic everybody just ignore the program Switchresx, he is the cause of the problem, i just had this black screen issue 20 min ago, and what u have to do is:

Restart your mac in Safe Mode (Hold Shift when u hear the start sound), this will make the mac to do a clean initialization of your system.

Now open your System preferences and remove this stupid program.

Restart your mac and done.

o/
 

mlrogers

macrumors newbie
Jun 7, 2011
1
0
I just had the dead screen issue with switchresx as well. Resetting pram didn't work, it just would display the messed up screen right at power-on (not black in my case, but vertical stripes of a few bright colors). Resetting pram gave me a grey screen with some weird ghosted vertical lines of a lighter grey with the spinning thing and the apple, then back to the colored bars a few seconds later.

The solution: use the screen sharing app from another mac and turn off and uninstall switchresx on the affected mac. If you don't have screen sharing enabled on the mac with the bad display caused by switchresx, then you can enable it via ssh and the command line (you do have ssh enabled, right?...). Or you could boot into single user mode (google it, it's not hard to find). For setting screen sharing to be enabled from the command line: http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20080318190503111. Good luck, it's really annoying that there's no easy kill for switchresx from the command line included in it. Or maybe there is; I noticed some scripting junk that came with it, I'll have to look closer at that.
 

WillVladimir

macrumors newbie
Oct 13, 2012
1
0
Connecticut
-solved-

Hey guys,
So as you all might know is that i too have had this problem hence me posting here. I would like to tell you this method is 100% guaranteed to work and the files are always replaced and if the problem is somehow again created then do the following steps. Before i go further though i would like to say SwitchResX is a totally insecure and unreliable pece of software. I am still trying to figure out how to permanently delete all of the files from my mac.

First step:
Boot up into, SafeBoot by doing the following command keys after hitting the power button. HOLD SHIFT UNTIL you see the apple icon and hold it for a second after and release. Next the normal loading icon will spin, then the progress bar for the SafeBoot load up appears at the bottom.

Second Step:
Login into account and make sure the Red tag of, SAFEBOOT is at the top of the right hand corner. Next wait a while for the screen to load up and then go to the finder toolbar at the top of the screen and go to the right of that and hit GO. Next proceed down the list until you see Go to Folder then type in this exact command.

~/Library/preferences/byhost
This should bring you to files by the name of, com.apple scroll down until you see the TWO files called,

com.apple.windowserver.plist
com.apple.windowserver.plist.lockfile

Go ahead and delete those files and RESTART your mac. Dont hold down the shift key just let it load up. If you get a login screen that is 50% complete and if you can log in and resume what you were doing then that is a 100% working. Hope you all agree this is a correct way of dealing with the problem. However there are something to consider:

One:
Since i created custom Resolutions i can't mess around with any of them or i will go back to the problem. This should be left alone and for me my default resolution is 1280x800 so it comes out to 720p.

Two:
These two files can be found in different locations! You will only find them in two though. One being the one given and the second being the hidden library if you are lion users.

Other than that i fixed my computer and am back working on it. Hope this all helped you and if so PROMOTE this. No other services or solutions that i have tried really work besides this one.

-Will
 
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