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Image on monitor gobbled up1

Suddenly, when I boot up my computer, the screen on the monitor (albeit old) briefly shows the desktop, and then the image gets swallowed up into blackness. (That is literally what it looks like?not a sudden blackout, but the image collapsing inward as if into a black hole.) Occasionally, I can get things to work by various means, and I thought I had it licked, but this morning I just couldn't make anything work for more than an instant. Obviously, I can't do any work on that machine, even though the CPU shows the right light, the keyboard lights up when the computer is booted up, the mouse lights up when it's moved and so on.

I thought that this showed that I needed to replace my monitor, but one of my two sisters said that she thought it meant that my computer was failing. I am looking to you for advice.

The computer is a G4 (Sawtooth model) desktop with a separate monitor. It's running OS 10.4.11. The hard drive was replaced only a few years ago. I reinstalled and updated the operating system recently with a brand-new copy of Tiger. I haven't received any weird messages. Please ask for any other information you might need, but I hope that this will do for now. I'm on a laptop that is itself not in the greatest shape itself, and I hate to use it any more than I must. (I have kept it on OS 9 in order to be able to help my mother with any problems she might encounter on her computer, and I suspect that it wouldn't work well with OS X, anyway, with its smallish HD.)

Thanks for your input.


I backed up my files yesterday, so I'm not going to be in big trouble.

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That monitor

In reply to: Image on monitor gobbled up1

Hi again.
Boot the G4 from one of your myriad of OS X disks, preferably one that actually works, and see if the video problem remains.
If it does then you have ruled out a software problem.
If possible, try a different monitor. Does your graphics card have VGA as well as ADC connections? VGA is the smaller connection that you would normally find on a PC.
If the problem goes away, you've got your answer, but, if it doesn't, you still have your answer, the graphics card is failing.

Well done on the backup thing. Nice to hear that some people actually do things like that.

How is that OS 9 toting Mumsie?


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I'll try all this, but later

In reply to: That monitor

Thanks, and I'll try all this as soon as I can. (I'm going out to meet a friend soon and see a documentary, my reward for virtue, I guess.) Unfortunately, though I backed up on both a thumb drive and a CD, some of the folders came out on the thumb drive as generic PC files! I'll check the CD when I come home and hope to find that those folders are OK there. Not terribly serious, because I have some (slightly earlier) version of many of them on an external drive, but a real nuisance. I've no idea what happened, but now I suspect that my sister was right and the whole computer is going mad. I hope I'm wrong.

Back in a while. Thanks for the prompt, informative answer?though a quick reading left me a little puzzled about the connectors for the monitor. I'll have to read it more carefully, later.


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Bruef answers (monitor)

In reply to: I'll try all this, but later

Booting with OSx disk (the good one, the multiple duds being history). As before, an intact image appears briefly, then disappears. In neither case did anything look fragmented. The screen just went black. Once, a day or so ago, when I unplugged the monitor, I could get the image to hold for a while, but this time (trying to boot from the OSX DVD), all I could get when I clicked the button on the front of the monitor that turns it on and off (otherwise, the image never appears), the desktop went black after just a moment of beautiful clarity and resolution.

Monitor. I have no other monitor to try, but the one I have is attached to the G4 with a VGA connection on the computer. I assume that the unused connection on the computer is the ADC or something else. It has what seems to be two rows of seven or so holes. I know this sounds very ignorant. Well, I admit it. I am ignorant.

So I guess I'm still in the same position. Or maybe not. Maybe I need to try buying a new monitor. I assume that I can return it, if that doesn't work, even though it may involve restocking fees. I really, really don't want to buy a new computer now. I've just invested a lot in a copy of Tiger and am only now getting used to it. Further, I have loads of non-Intel software (and for all I know, hardware as well) and files composed in OS9 (supported by Classic). It's my impression that all that will be toast (no pun with Toast) with Leopard.

I admit to being just a bit of a reluctant upgrader (though not a Luddite), but I'm sure you can see that the prospect of throwing out so much of what I have (some of it brand-new) is daunting?not only because of the expense but everything else.

Thanks again for the help on testing what is wrong. I'm hoping that there's still something to add, and I won't do anything until I hear back from you or someone else.



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The monitor

In reply to: Bruef answers (monitor)

As the monitor performs in the same manner when the computer is booted from another system disk, we can rule out an OS problem.

Substitution is the next step. Either you take the monitor to another computer and see what happens or you take the computer to another monitor. Of course, bringing another monitor to the computer would be the easy way.
Bear in mind that these monitors are not platform specific. If it has a vga connector, it will work on the G4.

Nobody in your building has a monitor they could loan you for 15 mins or so?

Ah the joys of living in the big city.


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I'll ask around

In reply to: The monitor

Not sure who has a monitor, but I think my next-door neighbor may have one. She's away, though, so I shall try asking some others I know. (So many people, these days, have laptops only or all-in-ones, but there is bound to be someone, I'm sure.)

Question from this technological babe in the wood is, if the problem is the graphics card, can that be replaced, or do I have to scrap the whole whatsit. And are we talking about a card in the computer or the monitor ["question mark"?among other problems, my silly laptop has decided that it doesn't want some of its righthand keys to work, woe is me]

Thanks again. I'll let you know what happens.


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The hunt for a Monitor

In reply to: I'll ask around

Good luck on that quest;
The card we are talking about is the one inside the G4.
If you drop the side of the G4 you will see it in the brown slot. If it is not in the brown slot, then you have a PCI card, and subsequently a G4 PCI Graphics.
We all believe yours to be a G4 AGP Graphics.

These AGP cards are still available, for a fee


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The murk is clearing

In reply to: The hunt for a Monitor

I finally found someone with a monitor to lend to me. It took a few days for her to be able to release it to me, but when I hooked it up to my computer, everything went just fine. Off very soon (tomorrow, if I can manage it) to buy a new monitor. If there's anything more wrong, I don't know. Right now I'm just grateful to be able to take action so readily.

Thanks for all the help. I'm feeling much happier now.



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In reply to: The murk is clearing

Hope all goes well and you are back to your full brilliance shortly.


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It's just beautiful!

In reply to: Great,

Dear P,

Got the monitor on Friday afternoon and set it up this morning (Sunday). It's what I wanted and needed and then some.

I was tickled by your reference to my "full brilliance"being restored?though I suspect that you meant the monitor, and not me, personally. Whichever you meant, the good wishes are very welcome, and you gave me a welcome chuckle.

I am so grateful, once again, for your rapid, timely help, which led me in the right direction. I hope that your white charger isn't too tired; someone else may need you to come to the rescue.

Warmest thanks,


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(NT) You're welcome, Enjoy

In reply to: It's just beautiful!

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