fixed : MacBook’s external monitor screen stays black

Question :

In my office, I am using an external monitor as my main screen for my MacBook Pro. Today, the screen didn’t respond when I connected my MacBook however : the screen stays black and nothing appears on-screen. So I opened up my MacBook and used the built-in screen to figure out what’s wrong, but so far I haven’t found any indication in the Displays Preference Panel that my MacBook even detects the second screen…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

In such situations you should always do this first :

Remedy #1 :

  • make sure your monitor is switched ON
  • then hit the SPACE-bar on your external keyboard several times (maybe once, usually about 5 to 10 times…)
  • the monitor should now appear and show the inlog panel to unlock your screensaver
  • then login

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #2

Remedy #2 :

  • unplug all cables between the monitor and your Mac ( DisplayPort / Thunderbolt / HDMI / DVI / VGA  and also USB, UTP, FireWire and PowerAdapter )
  • shut down your monitor
  • shut down your MacBook
  • reconnect all cables and double-check if they’re properly connected on both the Mac and the monitor
  • switch on your MacBook
  • switch on your monitor

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #3

Remedy #3 :

  • on your MacBook, open Apple [main menu bar top-left] –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is no “Gather Windows” button, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and a button marked “Detect Displays” appears ; click on it when it appears

if this works, you’re good, if not, try Remedy #4

Remedy #4 :

  • on your MacBook, open Apple [main menu bar top-left] –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is a “Gather Windows” button, click on it
  • then you will see 2 Display Preference windows on your MacBook screen
  • select the Display Preference window that has 3 tabs on it marked “Display”, “Arrangement” and “Color” (not the window that has “Display” and “Color” only)
  • first, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and a button marked “Detect Displays” appears where the “Gather Windows”-button used to be ; click on it when it appears
  • if your monitor switches on, you’re good, if not…
  • click on the “Arrangement”-tab and in the next window put a checkmark at “Mirror Display”
  • if your monitor switches on now, uncheck the “Mirror Display” option again and close your MacBook… you should be good now…

if this didn’t work, try Remedy #5

Remedy #5 :

  • unplug all cables between the monitor and your Mac ( DisplayPort / Thunderbolt / HDMI / DVI / VGA  and also USB, UTP, FireWire and PowerAdapter )
  • shut down your monitor
  • shut down your MacBook
  • reconnect your Mac to your monitor using a different type of cable then you normally would choose (e.g. if you normally use a DisplayPort/Thunderbolt-cable, use an HDMI or DVI cable now)
  • switch on your MacBook
  • switch on your monitor
  • if your monitor wakes from sleep now, open Apple –> System Preferences
  • in the System Preferences window, select “Displays”
  • in the Display Preferences window, see if there is a button marked “Gather Windows” bottom right
  • if there is a “Gather Windows” button, click on it
  • then you will see 2 Display Preference windows on your MacBook screen
  • now, remove the monitor-cable that you have just used to connect your MacBook to your monitor
  • then, reconnect your MacBook to your monitor using all cables you normally use to connect the two
  • if your monitor now wakes from sleep, you’re good
  • if it doesn’t, restart your monitor
  • it that doesn’t help, restart your Mac

normally your issue should be resolved by now…

if still the monitor stays showing a back screen, I’m sorry to inform you that your screen probably has a hardware problem… if so, get an authorized Mac-repair-centre to fix it, get the Apple Store support-crew to fix this…

that’s it !

enjoy 😉

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fixed : where are my Office 365 AutoRecovery files ?

Question :

I accidentally messed up the Office documents (Word/PowerPoint/Excel) I was working on, and I didn’t save it before, so I wanted to get the auto-saved version from the AutoRecovery-folder as I’ve done in the old days of Office 2008 and 2004.

But now I am using Office 365, and I can’t find the AutoRecovery folder anywhere… where is it ?

 

Answer :

You might have guessed : nowadays, the AutoRecovery-folder is located in an entirely different location on your Mac.

If you are running Office 2011 for Mac (whether as part of Office 365 or not) the correct path to the AutoRecovery-folder is this :

~/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Office 2011 AutoRecovery

And if you are running Office 2016 for Mac (whether or not as part of Office 365) the correct path to the Word 15‘s AutoRecovery-folder(s) is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Word/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

for PowerPoint 15 the correct path is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.PowerPoint/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

and for Excel 15 the correct path is :

~/Users/username/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Excel/Data/Library/Preferences/AutoRecovery/

BEWARE : it’s not straight-forward to get to this folder in recent/current versions of OSX and macOS, as the user’s Library-folder is a hidden folder. So if you want to access it, the easiest way to do so is :

– in the Finder, click on “Go” in the top menu bar

– when the pulldown menu appears, press the ALT-key on your keyboard (a.k.a. OPTION-key) and an extra option named “Library” will appear in the pulldown menu

– while holding the ALT-key, click on “Library” and your personal (hidden) Library-folder will open in the Finder

– there you can navigate further using the paths listed above to find the AutoRecovery-folder you’re looking for

That’s it.

Enjoy !

😉

NOTE # 1 :

It is advisory to also switch on the “file overwrite protection” (or “double backup”) option as it stores the previous version of the file you are working on. In Word, you turn this feature on from Word –> Preferences –> Save and then mark the “Always create a backup copy” check box. This way, whenever you click “Save”, a backup version is made of the previous/stored version before it overwrites the stored version of the file… so with it turned on, you at least have one prior version of your file.

NOTE #2 :

it turns out that there’s a bug in Excel 2011 for Mac : even though the Autosave does save  a file with an .xlsx file extension, it’s not a true .xlsx file ! trying to open it will lead to an “Microsoft cannot open this file”-error. The solution is to change the file extension to either .xlsb (Excel binary format) or .xlb (older Excel backup format), to enable Excel to recognize the file and enable it to open.

[ a big Thank You to Paul Preston for noticing this problem and for Bryan P for posting the solution on Superuser.com and to Rich Michaels for posting his updated solution on answers.microsoft.com]

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fixed : which version of Java do I have ?

Question :

I would like to know which version of Java I have installed on my Mac, since the software I want to use will only run on Java 7 or higher.

How can I check (and update) ?

 

Answer :

Java is a free software platform which is operation system independent (so Mac & PC) created and maintained by Oracle. Despite it always having been a very reliable way of making cross platform games & applications, Apple has restricted the use of Java to ‘only when needed’ by default in the latest versions of OSX and macOS, because of the security risks involved in using Java and similar software that can run autonomously on your Mac next to macOS.

To find out which version of Java you have installed, do the online check that’s on this official website :

https://java.com/en/download/installed.jsp

Just follow the instructions given and the result of the check will be shown : you will either have the latest version installed, or you won’t… in that case update instructions will guide you to getting the latest version available for your Mac.

enjoy 😉

fixed : repair or replace broken 24″ Apple LED Display ?

Question :

Just a few hours ago, the 24″ Apple LED display that I have connected to my 13″ MacBook Pro (Late 2011) started smelling… the odor was giving me a headache as if something plastic or electrical was burning… now, my beloved Apple Display is not showing anything on screen anymore : even though it’s USB-ports, the MagSafe-power and the sound are still working, and my Mac still detects a connected external screen, the display stays black…

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

I’m sorry to bring you the bad news : your beloved Apple Display is a ‘total loss’… Even though this could probably be fixed by replacing the internal ‘motherboard’ of your monitor (99% chance some component on it burned, which is getting an increasingly common problem with these 8 year old monitors…), the fact that Apple does no longer supply any new components for these LED Displays makes that no official Apple repair station will do any repairs on it any longer, and even if you would be able to find a working second-hand replacement part, the replacement procedure is so delicate that it is not a do-it-yourself job… don’t go there.

So you want a replacement ?

Apple does no longer produce or sell any “Apple Display”-monitors. The only monitors available for sale on the Apple Store are LG-branded 4K and 5K monitors… these are said to be co-developed by Apple, but BEWARE : these can only be connected to the most recent Macs that have Thunderbold3-over-USB3 !!!

For older Macs that have miniDisplayPort or Thunderbold (which is Thunderbold1-over-miniDisplayPort) you need something else…

If you just need a plain ‘extra screen’ of GraphicDesigner-quality, you could choose any monitor by Dell, Acer, LG, Samsung, etc. that gets good reviews by graphic designers and meets these specs :

  • IPS-type screen (which has a far better viewing-angle then the TN-type screens)
  • miniDisplayPort, DisplayPort or DVI input (not HDMI-only)
  • a black and/or minimal bezel around the screen
  • preferably as much or more pixels than your Apple Display (the 24″ Apple Displays had 1920×1200 and the 27″ Apple Displays had 2560×1440)
  • preferably an internal USB-hub (to connect an external USB-keyboard, USB-mouse or USB-scanner)

but for most of you, since you are still hanging on to your not-so-new MacBook, you will want an affordable replacement that will still be useful when you buy a new MacBook…

…then there is only one good option for you at this current time :

the BenQ BL2420PT monitor ; buy it at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

with a StarTech 4K@60Hz miniDisplayPort-to-DisplayPort1.2-cable ; buy it at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de

BEWARE : there is no displayPort-cable included with the BL2420PT monitor, so don’t forget to add a 4K@60Hz capable miniDisplayPort1.2-cable

…okay, this is no way comparable to the sleek industrial design (the ‘box’) of your Apple Display… you won’t get MagSafe-power connection and an iSight webcam built-in, the screen is not high-gloss and it’s bezel is about .5cm thicker than the screen, the monitor speakers volume can’t be adjusted from your keyboard (you should do that on screen or use your Mac speakers) and you won’t get the ‘one cable’ connection you’re used to…

…but, it’s non-intrusive black, the screen can be easily adjusted in height and can even tilt to portrait, it has the 27″ amount of pixels on a 24″ screen (admitted : even though that’s a PRO for most, it might be a CON for some), it has built-in speakers, it has special settings for CAD/CAM and AnimationDesign and it’s the highest value-for-money around…

…if you would mind that, you wouldn’t still be using such an old MacBook… right 😉

enjoy !

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fixed : deleting photos to free up memory on your iPhone

Question :

I have a 16GB iPhone running iOS10, and it freezes whenever I want to take a photo… I get an error message that there’s no memory left on my iPhone so I can’t continue…

I checked and it turns out that I have literally 1KB (yes, only 1KB, not even 1MB…) left as free memory… and most of my 16GB is occupied by Photos.app (about 12GB)…

How do I free up space without deleting valuable photos and videos ?

 

Answer :

The best way (if not the only) to free up space on your iPhone will be to delete a lot of photos and videos, in your case. The way to do that without running the risk of throwing away photos and videos that you would have liked to backup it this :

  • connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB-cable
  • open the Photos.app on your Mac
  • click on your iPhone, which is listed on the left side
  • now, in the main window, go to the photos that are displayed as ready to import (photos that aren’t on your Mac already are automatically filtered out by Photos.app
  • from that selection of (un-imported) photos and videos, select ONLY those photos you want to keep
  • import that selection onto your Mac
  • first check if all photos and especially all videos (as those are not being transferred automatically through iCloud syncing) you selected have been imported
  • then unplug your iPhone’s USB-cable
  • then delete all video’s you can, and if that isn’t enough, delete all photos older than about one year from your iPhone
  • Please, note that iCould will only contain the most recent photos (usually not the videos)
  • now, restart your iPhone by simultaneously pressing the two main physical buttons : both the menu-button (just below the screen on the front side) and the ON/OFF-button (top side or right side)
  • then check if you have enough free space on your iPhone now
  • if not, delete more photos from your iPhone (in the way explained above)
  • …then restart your iPhone

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fix/tip : how to handle spam iCloud Calendar event invitations ?

Question :

Lately, I received some spam event invitations in Calendar and in my notifications, both on my iPhone/iPad and on my Mac. What can I do to get rid of them ?

 

Answer :

This is a very new and very annoying kind of spam that especially targets iCloud. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have a proper solution for this problem yet.

While we are waiting for Apple to come up with a solution (let’s hope it will be an “only contacts can send Calendar event invitations” option or a White List or Black List option), there are some things you can do to minimise the annoyance :

BEWARE : do NOT react to the invitation by clicking either “Maybe”, “Decline” nor “Accept” as each of those will send a notification to the sender ! doing so acknowledges to the sender that your iCloud account is active and will therefore trigger more and more spam Calendar invitations for you ! 

Apart from disabling iCloud Calendar event invitations altogether (which you can do on the iCloud.com website), the best option for now is this :

  • in Calendar-app on your Mac, go to File –> New Calendar
  • there you can create a new calendar ; you’ll see it appear in your list of calendars and name it something like “Spam” (or “Trash” or something alike)
  • then look up the spam Calendar entry in your Calendar and right-click on it
  • in the popup-list that appears, select Calendar –> Spam
  • now it will be in your Spam calendar
  • in the list of calendars (on the left) you can now uncheck the Spam calendar to hide this spam event from view
  • now, right-click on the “Spam” name in the list of calendars (on the left)
  • in the popup-list that appears, click on “Get Info”
  • in the pulldown-window that appears, put a checkmark at “Ignore alerts” and click “OK”
  • note : even though it’s annoying, learn to live (for now) with the fact that the spam event invitation will still be listed in your list of Calendar event invitations… if you accidentally clicked on it, click outside the popup-window to close it, do NOT click “Maybe”, “Decline” or “Accept” ! …and yes, the number-badge on your event inbox is annoying and confusing…
  • then, if you see a notification popup floating above your Desktop top right, click on “Close”, to make it go away… do NOT click “Accept” !
  • then, on your iPhone (and/or iPad), open the Calendar-app and click on “Calendars” (bottom middle, between “Today” and “Inbox”)
  • in the Calendars screen that opens, under ICLOUD, find your spam calendar (listed as “Spam” or whatever you named it)
  • first, uncheck the checkmark in front of it (to make the spam calendar invisible)
  • then click on the “i” (info) icon behind it
  • in the Edit Calendar screen that opens, scroll down, and make sure that at NOTIFICATIONS, the switch at “Event Alerts” is OFF
  • then click “Done” to save and exit and click “Done” again to also exit the next screen

Now if you get new spam event invitations, put them in your spam calendar to make them invisible also :

  • either [1] on your iPhone (or iPad) : look up the spam event in your calendar (not in your Inbox), it will be a greyed-out event, click on it and in the next screen (“Event Details”) at “Calendar” set it to “Spam” (or whatever you named your spam calendar)
  • or [2] on your Mac : look up the spam event in your calendar (not in your Event Inbox, nor in your Notifications), it will be a greyed-out event, right-click on it, then set Calendar to “Spam” (or whatever you named your spam calendar)

If you really want to get rid of all spam events, spam event badges and spam event notifications you can also completely delete your spam calendar, by doing this :

  • either [1] on your iPhone (or iPad) : in Calendar-app, click on “Calendars” (bottom middle) and in the next screen (“Calendars”) at “Spam” click on the “i” (info) icon ; then in the next screen (“Edit Calendar”), scroll down and click on “Delete Calendar”
  • or [2] on your Mac : in Calendar-app click on “Calendars” until the list of your calendars appears at the left, then go to “Spam”, right-click on it and select “Delete” from the popup-list

That’s it…

However : if you only get very few spam event invitations, you can delete the “Spam” calendar each time, but if you frequently get spam event invitations that will cost you too much time, don’t bother doing it each and every time…

Good Luck !

Let’s hope Apple comes up with a proper solution soon 😉

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