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PowerBook screen resolution problems

PowerBook screen resolution problems

Yesterday we covered an issue with PowerBook G4 Titanium laptops, reported by a number of readers and discussed on the MacFixIt and Apple Discussions forums, where switching the screen's resolution causes the screen to go blue or gray. We also posted two workarounds: closing the lid to put the PowerBook to sleep and then waking it back up; and, if you're running OS X, pressing command option control 8 (which forces an inversion of the screen).

We've received a number of additional reports of this issue. Reader Robert Ellis contends that the problem only appears in Panther: "I have a PB Ti 550, 768 ram. I reverted back to Jaguar and have not had the problem." Jason MacDonald's report seems to echo this: "I am using a 550MHz tibook with 1G of ram. I did a clean install of Panther and installed both updates to Panther. Every time I change the screen resolution through system preferences (I have not tried any other way yet) I get a blue screen. The first couple times I rebooted the machine thinking it had locked up. After the 3rd time I thought to try putting it to sleep and it acts normally upon waking." As we don't have any of these models here at MacFixIt, we can't test this theory.

Several readers report that the problem isn't limited to changing the resolution manually; they experience similar problems when running full-screen applications that change the display resolution (such as games). Alan Seigel writes "I have that 667 TiBook; [full-screen apps and games] load in the background but the screen goes black. You can hear it but not see it. Also happens on the visualizer from iTunes." Likewise, reader Michael Allured writes, "I have the same problem switching resolutions on a 500MHz Titanium. The problem is particularly troublesome when I try to play a game that switches the resolution, because there is nothing that will get the display back unless I hit cmd-Q to quit the game. The crtl-opt-mcd-8 doesn't work in those situations. A real pain."

We'd appreciate any feedback readers can provide -- drop us an email at

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