I did something last weekend that I know many of you may have done already. I dragged my Mac Mini into the living room and connected it to my large screen LCD TV. I ran into an interesting problem after doing so. My Mac Mini would not display the Mac OS X menu bar. It wasn’t visible, but luckily there is an easy fix for this problem.
I thought I’d share it with you, because moving the Mac Mini to the living room has been a great idea so far. This little problem and the solution for it is definitely a good one to keep in your favorite collection of tips.
I had expected everything to just work after I connected my Mac Mini (Mid 2010 model) to my Samsung 36’ LCD TV, but I was surprised that portions of the screen were missing along practically all four sides. However, the worst part was that the menu bar at the top of the screen was gone.
I experimented by trying the various display resolution settings, but I could not immediately find a solution. I did some research and found this Apple knowledge base article: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4214.
Here’s what it said about this problem:
What should I do if the Mac mini does not display on the full screen or does not display?
From the Apple () menu, choose System Preferences, then choose Displays from the View menu. Adjust the “Underscan” until the image fills the screen.
How do I open System Preferences if I don’t see a menu bar or dock?
On keyboards with brightness controls, hold down the Option key and the press one of the brightness keys (F1 or F2). This opens the Displays System Preferences pane. You can also press Command-Shift-A to open the Applications folder, then double-click System Preferences. Another method is to hold down the Command key and press the Space bar to activate the Spotlight menu, type “displays,” and then press Return.
The solution was to adjust the Underscan settings, which by default, were set to Off. I slid the settings for this option to the right about three notches and then I could see the entire Mac OS X screen. The important part was the menu bar, which was now fully accessible as well as visible.
The knowledge base article documents some additional information about displays that you might find handy later so be sure to check it out.
I hope you’ll find the solution to my misadventures this weekend to be helpful if you ever move your Mac Mini into the living room and hook it up to your TV. Now that it’s working I’m ready to explore the multimedia potential that the Mac Mini has after being inspired by several of my friends to look into it.
If you’ve got a helpful tip about using a Mac in your living room as a part of your home theater please share that tip by leaving it in a comment.