Dell U2713HM connection problems with Macbook Pro 5,5 over Mini DisplayPort

Yet another tip for the international reader 🙂

After some years with my old Samsung Syncmaster 205BW, I decided to invest into a new big screen with sufficient possibilities to connect all my computers while avoiding dual or triple monitor setups. After testing several 23 and 24 inch screens, I decided to buy a Dell U2713HM from an Amazon Warehouse deals promotion. This screen is really amazing and I cannot live without its WQHD/2560*1440 resolution 🙂

But to use this high resolution, you must connect it to your computer or mac via DualLink DVI or Mini DisplayPort. HDMI and VGA or even normal DVI are only usable up to FullHD/1920*1080. So I could easily use the supplied DualLink DVI Cable to connect my PC (with an Nvidia GTX 660 TI) and my old Macbook Pro 5,5 over its Mini DisplayPort.

While the PC connection is without problems, the DisplayPort tends to forget that there is an external screen attached. The screen will change between black and standard gray/blue from the Mac OS X 10.8. It is not possible to use the external screen until I disconnect and reconnect the Mini DisplayPort cable. Only then, my Mac realizes that there is an external screen and uses it in its native resolution.

This problem originates in the DDC/CI support of this monitor. With DDC/CI it is possible to control your screens settings from your PC/Mac without the use of the screens OSD. While this looks tempting, I would have never used this feature. That is why I decided to deactivate the support in the Dell OSD.

You can deactivate this option in the settings menu of the Dell screen under the point “Other settings”, then DDC/CI set to disable.

Suddenly, everything works again and my Mac detects the screen without any problems, even when it wakes up and DisplayPort wasn’t selected as source in the monitor.

How to configure Apple Airport Express 1st Generation on Mountain Lion

This is a tip which should be also available for my international readers, therefore it is in english 🙂 If you prefer a german version, please click on this Macwelt article.

My father uses my old Apple Airport Express 1st Generation. He uses Mountain Lion aka. Mac OS X 10.8 on his Macbook Pro and wanted to reconfigure the Airport. However, Apple decided to drop support for older generations of the Airport Express. Therefore, the current version 6.1 of the Airport Utilities is unable to find his Airport Express model.

This is where this handy tool come into play. With unpkg, you can extract the content of the pkg installers supplied by Apple, as older Versions are not runnable on Mountain Lion. You need to extract the tool and start it.

a Mac OS X .[m]pkg unarchiver - version 4.5
a Mac OS X .[m]pkg unarchiver – version 4.5
Now you can download the older Airport Utilitiy in version 5.61 which is the last version with support for his type of Airport Express. You can download it directly from Apple. Mount the downloaded dmg file and drag the Airport Utility Installer onto the unpkg window. unpgk will now decompress the pkg file to your desktop.

AirPortUtility FolderYou can now move the App from the Applications/Utilities folder to your Application folder. Double click on it and you will get the older version of the utility. Be sure to skip the update, as it will try to download the newer version of the Airport Utility 6.1 which you definitively don’t want to use as it will stop working with your kind of Airport Express.

 

Mac OS X Mountain Lion – Falsche Datenträgergrößenangaben

Ich habe mich gerade gewundert, wieso mein Mountain Lion mich mit falschen Datenträgergrößenangaben nervt und verwirrt. Ich habe eine 400GB große Partition, die aber eigentlich nur gut 200GB Daten beinhaltet.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion – Falsche Datenträgergrößenangaben weiterlesen

VMWare Fusion 4.1.3 does not accept Bootcamp installation

I’m currently switching from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and I wanted to make a clean install. Therefore I completely removed the Bootcamp Partition with the Bootcamp assistent of Mac OS X. However, it could not remove the partition. I’ve decided to delete the partition manually and to recreate the partition.

The Mac OS X disk utility only allows me to create exFAT or FAT partition, because NTFS is not natively supported. I’ve decided to use ExFAT and deleted my old Windows 7 installation. After installing Windows 8, I wanted to use my Bootcamp installation on Mac OS X. So I started VMWare 4.1.3 (The latest version is 5, but I’m not willing to buy the upgrade, the old version works fine under Mountain Lion.), removed the old entry for my Windows 7 Bootcamp installation and wanted to create a new one.

But this failed with several error messages, indicating that the Bootcamp disk could not be configured. After a short Google search, I’ve found the problem with the exFAT format of the Bootcamp partition: VMWare Fusion only supports NTFS formatted partitions.

 

The lessons learned from my experience:

  • If you create the Bootcamp Partition with the Mac OS X assistent, you will get a 32GB large Partition in the correct useable format.
  • If you delete yourself old Bootcamp partitions and want to reinstall, make sure you format the partition with NTFS instead of any other offered formats. Instructions for this can be seen here.
  • If you use Paragon NTFS4Mac or if you use MacFuse, you could preformat the partition with NTFS. But Windows 7 and 8 want to create a small boot partition for themself, so I would not recommend to go this path. Format the partitions from Windows setup.

 

A small update:

I was not able to use VMWare again with Bootcamp. Therefore I decided to delete the partition with the Bootcamp assistent, which crashed during this operation. I had to enter the recovery mode of Mac OS X and had to recheck and repair the complete HDD and its partition. I’ve then changed the size of the HFS+ Volume on the HDD back to its original size and created a new Bootcamp partition using the assistent:

Creation of a  Bootcamp partition on Mac OS X 10.8
Creation of a Bootcamp partition on Mac OS X 10.8

 

Next Update:

No good news to report… Windows was finally recognized correctly by VMWare, but I couldn’t add the Bootcamp installlation. The setup wanted me to reboot into Windows and reboot into Mac OS X, because it thought the Bootcamp partition was not cleanly unmounted:

Bootcamp partition is not prepared - VMWare Fusion 4.1.3
Bootcamp partition is not prepared – VMWare Fusion 4.1.3

 

So I decided to try the new VMWare Fusion 5.0.1 version and suddenly my problems were all gone… It’s sad to see, that you always need a newer software version to work correctly. Especially when Windows 8 runs just fine inside a normal VMWare VM, but not when you are using Bootcamp. My guess would be that you could install Windows 7, configure Bootcamp correctly in VMWare Fusion and then upgrade to Windows 8. But this takes awefully long, so I’ll stick to the newer Fusion version. You can test it 30 days for free and after that you have to buy it for 44,99Euro 🙁

 

iTunes 10.7 and Remote 2.4 on iOS 6 – How to reconnect

I recently tried to use my iPhone 4S with iOS 6 to control my iTunes 10.7 on my Macbook Pro. This used to work but the official Apple Remote App did not successfully connect to iTunes anymore.

I followed the knowledge base article and tried to reset all remote settings in iTunes, as well as controlling my wireless network settings. After several unsuccessful tries to pair both machines, I tried to switch my Macbook to LAN connectivity instead of WLAN. And this was the first clue, that the problems must have something to do with my network settings, as I could not pair my iPhone with iTunes anymore.

The key to success was to restart my WLAN router (AVM Fritz!Box 3270). Devices from AVM are known for their problems with Bonjour’s UDP Multicast packets. They are sometimes blocked when the router is running for too long without reboot. So restarting helped me a lot, because after this I could pair iPhone and iTunes again and could start controlling my Macbook’s iTunes again 🙂