Friday, June 26, 2015

Success! A tale of trouble shooting.

Dear God, I just fixed a computer problem that was making me literally angry with rage.  For the last couple weeks, I was having a devil of a time connecting my laptop to my TV through my HDMI cable.  To make matters worse, I began to further lose display functionality as I struggled with the problem.  I was trapped in hd quicksand, and it really pissed me off!  However, I'm happy to say that having solved this problem, my satisfaction is all the greater for having endured such frustration.  Continue reading for the longer tale.

Part of the reason I'm writing about this is to add one more location on the internet where this problem arises.  I clicked on so many links and shuffled so many different search terms, only to find an obnoxious pie of obvious solutions I'd already tried, less obvious solutions I'd already tried, tough solutions I wasn't prepared to try (I won't change my registry key lightly) and irrelevant posts that didn't match my search terms.  Over and over again, I searched and skimmed and read.  Finally, for whatever reason, I noticed I was getting more interesting search results on my break at work, so I decided to start copying and pasting links for myself to try at home.  Ultimately, it was this post that helped me solve my problem:

My problem was quirky, for sure.  The simplest description is that I couldn't get my laptop to connect to my TV via my brand-new HDMI cable.  But that wasn't strictly true.  I could duplicate my display, but I couldn't extend my desktop.  In fact, if I tried to extend my desktop, it would snap back to 1 display and a blank screen.  But to make matters worse, the previous scenario would only work if I started my computer in 'low resolution video mode'  which I accomplished by holding f8 while booting up.*   

The real problem was that, if I didn't use low res video mode, when I plugged in an hdmi cable, the display would turn off completely.  And it wouldn't turn back on until I rebooted the computer.  The HDMI cable didn't even have to be plugged into anything on the other end, but I would have to do a hard reset every.single.time.  

It all started peacefully enough.  When I first plugged my monitor in to my laptop via my brand-new HDMI cable, the screen extended quickly and painlessly.  My new TV even politely informed me that a device had been plugged into the HDMI slot and would I like to enjoy this now?  Yes I would, thank you.  Now I can watch a movie on one screen and casually browse on another.  Or I can play video games on a big screen and seamlessly transition to my small screen between play sessions.  Or I can research the solution to a problem on one screen, and execute the proposed solutions on the other.  I love having two monitors.

I suppose the real cause of my problem could be traced back to hubris.   Or, if I want to be more generous, the dangers of curiosity.  Because, while everything was working well, I was curious about what my new TV monitor was capable of, so naturally I opened my display settings.  My television is a humble 32" 720p LG that I got on clearance at Target.  But, hey, look at that: according to my display settings,  it can be set to a higher resolution.  I can even ask it to go up to 1080.  That seems incongruent, but what the hey?  I'll give it a shot.  

Uh oh.

Screens go black.  Clearly I've pushed this thing beyond its limits.  No matter, I'll just reboot, and reset the resolution back to it's native 720, just as god intended.  Should be simple... (go to top of the page)

I'm glad it's over.    


*I wish I still had the link to the post where a helpful internet citizen provided with the information about low-res video mode (f8).


  1. I had something similar (but not) when I was configuring our Blu-ray player. I set the screen resolution to whatever the max setting was because AMERICA! The next day when I turned on the player it went from 700p to something absurd like 2560x1600 or 3840x2160. The screen then froze and I couldn't do anything (even autoplay wouldn't work).

    Only after unplugging the player and leaving it for about an hour did it go back to the standard 700p, but I didn't reset the setting fast enough because it went back to the 4096x2160 setting. An hour later I was able to change the screen resolution back to 1280x768. That was a harrowing first world problem.

  2. "That was a harrowing first world problem."

    Harrowing is the word. I love it!