Strange colors on 2nd monitor

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Allisone, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Allisone macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010
    Hello :D

    I have a problem with my MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008). I hope you can help me :(

    Since a few days I get strange colors on my external monitor (using dvi).

    In the attachment you can see the color problems when using cmd+tab, but I also see them in videos sometimes (using vlc player) which is extreme ugly (can't recognize anything, but thankfully this disappears in fullscreen), and also spotlight background blue becomes dark blue sometimes, sometimes the menu-bar fonts become ****** diffused or so (I guess colors of transparent pixels get screwed).

    If I pull a window with these screwed colors to my MacBook Monitor they disappear at a certain point, if I move the window back to my external monitor, they reappear.

    Also note that it's not the monitor producing these colors (otherwise how could I make a screenshot).

    Is this some graphics card problem or RAM ?
    Do I have to say good bye to my MacBook soon ?
    Some repair suggestions ?


    Attached Files:

  2. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Nov 9, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    So the problems persists on your internal screen too?! If yes, then that's bad and probably your GPU going hot.

    If the problem was only on your external screen though i would have suspected a bad monitor.
  3. thekev, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011

    thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010

    I can't think of any bugs that make bad displays mess up icons and stuff. Hot GPUs more often result in artifacts/screen tearing. This looks like something is clearly broken. Looking through the Apple discussion forums, I found a few threads on noise and banding using mini dvi but nothing quite as weird as this.

    Bleh I'm studying the pattern to it, but I can't think of what would cause this :(.
  4. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Nov 9, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden

    I have a samsung screen that gives me all sorts of color as soon as you turn it on against a computer, so i can defiantly see it happen!

    Your screenshot looks pretty much like artifacts!

    But does it happen on the internal screen too?
  5. Allisone, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011

    Allisone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010
    Well my cpu is getting very hot. I would need to get that back part open to clean my fan but my screwdrivers are so cheap they can't rotate the screws but instead break (yes the screwdriver broke ^^). I'll contact someone with better screwdrivers I guess.

    Really ? But then why are the colors in the (software)-screenshot (osx Shift+Cmd+3) as well. I would've switched the monitor already, but I thought, it wouldn't make a difference or would it ?

    I have a Samsung Monitor as well, but I think it's important to remember that the colors are also screwed up in the screenshot (Shift+Cmd+3, not with external camera like iPhone or so).
    I also had this plug-in/turn-on problems (television no-signal-snow like distortion) since the very beginning once or twice a week when I plugged the monitor to the mac, or when returning from a monitor standby. But that was just a matter of waiting a few seconds or replugging the cable. What I have now is very different.


    1. Never saw on internal.
    2. window with strange colors on external monitor ---> drag window to internal monitor ---> colors ok ---> drag window back to external monitor ---> colors bad again

    I have made a new screenshot, this time the colors are still recognizable but much darker as if I would've changed the contrast or so (but only on these elements... the rest of the screen is colored as usual). That's what I've often seen with the spotlight-background-blue. I'll make a screenshot next time that I see the bug in a window.

    Oh and note that it's always on specific drag able elements. Never like just inside a fixed rectangular area of the screen. Sometimes I can see it in a window (like the VLC example I mentioned) sometimes the menu bar, sometimes spotlight background, but it's almost always in the fading-in-out gui elements like when hitting cmd+tab or when hitting the sound louder/lower keys

    Attached Files:

  6. pieterv macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Belgium (Antwerp)
    I had this problem recently with any Movist window on my second monitor, used the default color profile for the USB+MDP->HDMI adapter, changed it to a very similar setting and everything's fine now.
  7. WarrickB macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2011
    I had exactly the same problem.
    It appears to be a problem with the color profile. Change or create a new profile and you should be good.

    If that doesn't work, then I'd also say that maybe there is a hardware problem.
  8. Allisone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010
    some more shots

    some more shots, I haven't seen the vlc player screwed again though :(

    The color profile change helped indeed.
    I had it set to SyncMaster.
    After switching to another profile the artifacts disappeared. On switching back to SyncMaster they were still gone. I'll keep another profile active anyway.

    Thx for all your help

    btw. I have the feeling that it was (<- fingers crossed) happening mostly when reaching critically low disk space.

    Attached Files:

  9. nisbet macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2011
    I have the same Problem

    I have the same Problem (i have the same MacBook) but I couldn't solve it with a new color-profile
    This is a Screenshot of a window half on the internal Screen and half on the external display (Samsung HDMI-Display connected with a DVI-HDMI Cable and a MiniDisplayPort)
    I use this setup for a long time and never had this Problem before.
    This Problem only affects certain Objects of the UI like the CMD-TAB Switcher:
    [​IMG] (Note that the Icons in my Dock display correctly on the same monitor)
    Maybe someone knows a Solution

  10. Allisone, Dec 11, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011

    Allisone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010

    same macbook, gleiche Sprache (same language -> german).

    Yes, it was the same for me, only because one part was screwed it didn't mean that all other (sometimes effected) parts were screwed as well.

    Well I'm not sure if it's a persistent fix with the new selected color profile, but as soon as I clicked a different profile the artifacts that I had at that moment were gone, and as I switched back to my samsung profile they did not reappear again. So, this is already a big help for me. Even if the artifacts reappear, I can always (I hope) make them disappear again by selecting another different profile again.

    I think heat makes more artifacts. (Now I put 2 pens below my macbook when I hear my fan running to loud or when I feel to much heat).

    I think the artifacts only appeared while running below 1,5 GB of free hard disk space... maybe only with low disk space some defect memory sectors (maybe on hard disk or maybe ram, don't know) have to be addressed/used which normally would be ignored by some intelligent algorithm/function that looks (and remembers) for screwed sectors.

    And although everything seems identical with your descriptions, the very few times that I had a draggable window screwed up, it always switched to the correct colors as soon as I crossed a certain line (while dragging it), and I mean completely. I never saw left part screwed and right part ok. When I moved it back (also crossing that certain line) it completely switched back to the screwed colors (just like switching sth. on/off)

    Also noteworthy ...
    After a reboot... one part could become effected by this artifact/color screwing, with passing time another part and then yet another part (first maybe it was only sth. like spotlight bg, then maybe also cmd+tab switcher, then also a window or sth. else).
    I never saw artifacts disappear, it always could become more but never less, so once I saw sth. screwed, it stayed screwed (till reboot)
  11. okkingaj macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2012
    Same problem with 24" Apple Cinema Display

    Hi, I have the same problem with my Apple Cinema Display .
  12. ELMI0001 macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2009
    Olympic Hills GC
    Hmm ... I have the same MacBook but don't have these issues. I'm using the no-longer-available Mini DisplayPort to HDMI from Monoprice and it works fine to a 37 inch Samsung TV.


    Just bought this screwdriver set and it works slick .. i only paid $10 for it though, not sure why it's $30 now. I think it's worth it at $30 though.
  13. Jayp03 macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2010
    I have the same exact Macbook and the same exact problem. Has anyone found a fix for this? Or are our Macbooks broken or something. I noticed this problem months ago but I haven't really been using my second monitor that much until recently again.
  14. bpanulla macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2012
    Fixed in 10.7.3?

    I haven't had issues with colors since I updated to 10.7.3. Looks like they may have fixed it.
  15. nisbet macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2011
    Same here – the issue just disappeared (i think even before updating to 10.7.3)
  16. cassiotones macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2007
    The problem may be SIMBL

    I recently installed SIMBL to use colourfulsidebar to make Finder's side bar colourful again. I think I started to notice this weird behaviour just after that. I uninstalled ColoufulSideBar and it solved the problem for a while, then it came back. Now I just unistalled SIMBL and the problem is just fixed. I tried different Display Profiles just now and all is fine, even the LED Cinema Display, which was the one going crazy all the time.
    Hope this help.
  17. cassiotones macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2007
  18. princetonfusion macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2006
    Possible Fix

    I've had an identical problem on my 2010 MBP since upgrading to Lion last fall. Here's what I did today that seemed to fix the problem:

    1) Go into Macintosh HD and find /library/colorsync/profiles/displays 2) Move all files in the 'displays' directory into a backup folder on your Desktop 3) Open System Preferences > Displays and click on "Color" for each of your displays 4) Your computer will take a few seconds and create a fresh display file for each monitor.

    After doing this all the weird screen artifacts and colors have gone away on both my MPB LCD display and my 19" external monitor connected with mini-DVI.
  19. cassiotones macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2007
  20. mpt-matthew macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2010
    I have been having the same problem. I think since updating to lion last summer.

    I use a cinema display with 2010MBP.

    I calibrate my monitors with a colormunki profiler. I think it must be something to do with the profiles not working, or something along those lines.
    I hope it's nothing hardware related (but my GPU is 71˚C :eek: ?)

    I have just moved a load of old profiles around and cleared a load of stuff of my HDD so there is more space.

    On a side not, I have adobe photoshop, which adds some colour profiles to your list. It's nothing to do with them is it?

    After re-profiling my monitors the problem seems to be (as usual, temporarily) solved.
    But i suspect that it is only a matter of time before my goofy icons come back.
  21. manishgarg macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    Set the profile in display

    I have had this problem several times. I go to the System Preferences - Display and set the correct profile under 'Color' tab

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