I have a Mac Pro 3,1 w an nVidia 8800 GT running El Capitan. When I reboot, the monitor shows the apple logo with the progress bar. It then goes blank and the monitor reports an out of range error. If I plug another monitor or the same monitor in to the second DVI port without the other monitor being on, the monitor in question displays the login screen without issue.

I'm confused as to what is going on as when I shutdown the monitor is fine. Any thoughts as to what is being triggered when I plug in the cable to the second DVI-D port?


I'd try clearing the SMC & NVRAM first…

Power down.
Disconnect all but the monitor with the issue, which I'd plug into the port with the issue.

Reset SMC on a Mac Pro -
Power down. Remove the mains cable from the back for 15 seconds. Press the power button for 15 seconds. Plug back in. Wait another 5 seconds, power on.

Reset NVRAM [do this as it's first powering up from the SMC reset]
At the chimes, hold Cmd ⌘ Opt ⌥ P R until you hear the chimes a second time, then release.

See if you can then get through startup & shutdown twice without seeing the issue.

If all is well, power down & connect the second monitor.

If not, try booting in safe mode & see if there is any change.
At the chimes, hold the Shift ⇧ key until you see the progress bar.

I've had a couple of Mac Pros over the years, with several different graphics cards. They all seem to get this type of monitor 'memory loss' periodically.

  • So far clearing the NVRAM hasn't helped. I even switched from using the DVI-D port labeled 1 to the one labeled 2. Will try the safe mode method after work. Nov 4 '15 at 12:33
  • Did you reset the SMC before the NVRAM too? If you did & no joy, then I'd do both again, then safe boot directly afterwards, straight after the NVRAM reset chime - just trying to get it as clean as possible for that first boot up.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 4 '15 at 12:40
  • Yeah I did reset the SMC via disconnecting the power cable as specified before clearing the NVRAM. I did hear the first beep and then after holding the key combo received the second set of beeps. No joy :( Will try per your new instructions later tonight. Nov 4 '15 at 14:18
  • Seems that the safe boot was the trick. Thanks for the help Tetsujin. Nov 5 '15 at 3:33
  • 1
    Try entering the computer via remote control (Teamviewer) and reset the screen settings from there
    – chilljul
    Jun 14 '20 at 19:06

El Capitan - if you changed certain display attributes from the System prefs display pane, it saves the changes for the current account in ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.windowserver..plist

If you have display problems with one account but not another, if the system boots to the login screen fine but the display goes crazy after name/password, you can either delete this file completely or edit out the offending sections. Check a working account to see if you need the file. You can probably copy a working file if you really need one.

My problem was setting refresh to 30Hz while trying out a cheap DP/HDMI adapter. My monitor doesn't do 30Hz but the setting was saved so this account always threw the monitor into "Out Of Range Error". SSH login from remote machine with the machine booted but no local login let me experiment to find the offending file.

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