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I clicked on a screen resolution in OS X that was incompatible with my monitor and/or monitor cable. I can restart with the shift key held down and boot into a usable resolution, but if I restart in "normal" mode, my display is useless. How can I recover from this?

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By holding shift you are telling the OS to use a known good resolution. You should be able to just change the resolution like you did the first time. IS tehre something preventing you from doing this? – Daisetsu Jul 23 '10 at 22:23
up vote 4 down vote accepted

After booting with Shift held down, go back into System Preferences and choose a known good resolution—that'll write it back to the PRAM.

Alternatively, you can just wipe the PRAM by starting up holding Command-Option-P-R until you hear TWO startup chimes.

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It's amazing how often people just say "Zap the PRAM!" as the solution to any problem. However, in this case I have a feeling it would work. – daviewales May 20 '14 at 15:08
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@daviewales My confidence on this actually goes back to System 7.5, where we would try to fix a different problem by zapping the PRAM, and always end up messing up our screen resolution. :-) – NReilingh May 20 '14 at 15:40

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