Help with Laptop Projection

Laptop projection problems (Mac or PC)

This page provides additional solutions, not covered in the basic guide for projecting from your laptop. Before reading this page, please see the basic guide for tips on solving laptop projection problems: Projecting_from_your_Laptop_Computer - What_to_do_if_Your_Computer_doesn't_project Projection Protocol Continued:

Below are some additional tips and tricks to try if you are experiencing projection issues on Macintosh Apple computers that cannot be easily remedied by previous shortcuts:

Reseat the dongle that you are using----unplug and replug the dongle( HDMI or VGA). Reboot your computer. Try the recommended resolutions of 1024X768 or 1280X 800. You may need to hover the pointer over the options on a MAC and hit ALT/Option keys and click the scaled option to get more resolutions. Quit all applications and try mirroring when you are on the computer background screen. Try Command+ F1 and try System Preferences>Displays>Arrangement tab> Mirror displays. Try Alt/Option and click on detect displays Check to make sure that you are not forcing the software( Powerpoint for example) to display in a way that does not allow you to configure another display type. If you suspect this then close all powerpoints or check the settings in each powerpoint. try a different dongle type( VGA vs. HDMI) Get OS version of the Mac. Google " reset PRAM "and follow directions. Google " reset SMC " and follow directions. The above steps are rarely needed but good to know when all else fails.

Unplugging dongle, or video cable , restarting the system from the touch panel and rebooting ( restarting  ) your laptop and then plugging in required cables and then restarting the system  has resulted in successful projection in the majority of instances when Media Services has assisted with classroom projection problems.

Computer Resolutions

Some information on computer resolutions:

Name Pixel array Aspect ratio Comment
VGA  640x480 4:3
SVGA  800x600 4:3
XGA  1024x768 4:3 This is probably the best resolution to use in most situations.
WXGA 1365x768 16:9 Wide-XGA; used for wide screen LC TV displays (beware: sometimes 1280x768 is called WXGA)
SXGA  1280x1024 5:4 squarer image and will not display correctly when projected onto a 4:3 aspect ratio screen.
UXGA  1600x1200 4:3
QXGA  2048x1536 4:3

Apple Color Profiles and Projection Issues

Issue: We've had many an instance where the Mac's default color calibration (most likely gamma) was too dark when projected on a projector (but fine on the Mac's internal display).

1) Connect to the projector or display where the issue is obvious.
2) Click on the Apple logo and select System Preferences > Displays.
3) There will be two windows with color settings. Click on the one NOT named Color LCD.
4) Click on the Arrangement tab and place a checkmark next to "Mirror displays" (if this checkbox isn't already checked).
5) Click on the Color tab and select Generic RGB. This should brighten the image displayed through the projector. If this doesn't resolve the issue, try some of the other options next to Generic RGB. If that doesn't help, you may need to follow these instructions: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3712

Laptop Projection Shortcuts

Dell with Windows XP: Fn+F8 (or F6)

Any Windows 7 computer: Windows Key + P

Apple: You can also try pressing Command (that's the apple key) + F1 or F7, though Apple has been trying to discontinue this shortcut.

PC Laptop Audio & Displayport Problems

When you are trying to project from a PC Laptop using the HDMI or DisplayPort, this function is trying to send the video and audio signal through the same cable (HDMI or DisplayPort). In situations where the audio and video are on a separate cable, this is not going to work because you will not have any sound.  

You will need to change the default adio settings. Go to:



Control Panel

Sounds and Audio Devices


Then under the Default Device selct the IDT Audio option. 

Click apply and then Yes to save new settings.  

Connecting a Mac computer to a projector or TV or monitor using HDMI

For Mac models that have Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt, it is possible to use an HDMI adapter to connect to some of our newer classrooms and project a much higher quality image. For more information, visit Connecting a Mac computer to a projector or TV or monitor using HDMI.

NVIDIA Control Panel Settings

Some of our laptops were shipped by Dell with an NVidia graphics card that needs to be activated for projection and dual-screen use. See this article for details.

Update your operating system and drivers

If you've followed all other troubleshooting tips and you are still having issues, please update your operating system and your video drivers:

  • If you have a Mac computer, run Apple Software Update. This will update both the operating system and the video drivers.
  • If you have a PC computer, run Windows Update, then visit your computer manufacturer's support page to obtain video drivers.

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