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I am trying to connect an external monitor to my legacy PowerBook G4 laptop.  I have the original video adapter dongle that Apple provided, which goes from digital video to VGA.  I've tried different resolution settings on the mac, and I've tried a couple of different flat panel monitors, but none seem to be compatible--at least, none seem to be able to detect and match to the Mac's resolution. The basic symptom is this: on the flat panel monitor, all I see is a small portion of the desktop--I can tell, because I can see the custom desktop pattern from my mac--but I can't see the system menus or hard drive icon, at all. The issue is complicated by the fact that the laptop's original screen no longer works... so I can't try to adjust resolutions while the external monitor is connected.  The best I can do is connect the laptop to the only monitor that half-way works (my Vizio HDTV), change the computer settings there, and then try to reconnect to the external VGA monitor. How can I get this to work?  Any advice would be appreciated.

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Since your laptop's display has a problem, that could indicate trouble elsewhere in the computer that is preventing you from adjusting your resolution properly. In fact, a shrunken display points more to a problem in the video processing, not in the display itself.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

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