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I cant get Thousands of Colours, but I have millions

npercy asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm lost.  I have a Qudra 900 with a multisacn 15 monitor.  I need Thousands of colours for a program to run, but I can onlys access 256 or Millions, neither of which will work the program.  I have tried changing the System files over, but I seem to be missing something.  I think the problem could be fixed with a piece of software or hardware, what I need to know is what I need and where to get it?  Thanks  Nigel
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Hello npercy,

Install the system extension "Activate all Resolutions 1.0", available at

Following is an English translation of the German text.


Richard Birchall

= = = = = = = = = = = = start text = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Activate all Resolutions 1.0
(c)1994 ·-Soft, Markus Fritze

****  This System Extension is NOT for owners of original Apple Monitors!

What does this System Extension do?

The Apple Macintosh offers the convenience not to know a thing about
monitors, horizontal and vertical sync-frequencies and such things. The
computer recognizes "his" monitor by some pins in the monitor's connector.
This is the best solution for the Apple Monitors (plug and play!).

The 16" Apple Monitor displays 832x624 pixels, but a multisync 17" (an Eizo
T560i-T for example) is capable to display up to 1152x872 pixels at 70Hz.
Owners of VGA adaptors (a special connector for compatibility of VGA 15 pin
to Apple 15 pin) can only choose 56Hz, 60Hz or 70Hz vertical frequency, but
not 75Hz.

Unfourtunately it is impossible for those users who have a multisync
connected to their Mac to choose the "right" resolution for their monitors.
There are special monitor cables available which have little switches
integrated in one of the connectors. These switches allow to disguise any
monitor as the one the user wants. This method will work, but it is not
(cable costs about 50$) and it is not convinient either (the monitor
connector is at the back of every Mac, isn't it?).

The Macintosh monitor driver software checks during startup time which
monitor is connected and deactivates all screen resolution which are not
supported by this monitor and now it is time to É

Activate all Resolutions

Activate all Resolutions (AaR) enables all possible resolutions the
supports! It is NOT important which monitor is connected and there is no
guarantee that the monitor which is actually connected can display these

The resolution will be choosen by activating the Monitor control panel and
clicking the Options button. Then the choosen resolution will be set after
restart of the Macintosh. Completely independent of the connected cable or
adaptor. AaR does not need any settings files (like "Monitor Switch" does)
and will work even on new Macs with so far unknown resolutions.


Monitors can be damaged when they are not capable to display higher
resolutions. A 15" Monitor should not be forced to display a 21"
normally this will not work! The technical data of the connected monitor
shows the limits of the resolutions or the corresponding frequencies.

There are upper AND lower limits! It may be that a resolution is too small
get a picture.

Anyway: if there is no picture on the screen, the resolution is not an
appropriate one for the connected monitor (some better monitors will beep
show something in their display). The monitor should be turned off
immediately! Then the monitor cable must be disconnected and the Macintosh
must be restarted. After a little while another restart with the cable
reconnected is neccessary, then the Mac will start up with the according
default-resolution. AaR will be inactive until it is reconfigured again
the Monitor control panel.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = end text = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Unfortanetuly it didn't work because it changed the resolutions like it was supposed to but I couldn;t change the colours like I needed.  I could only get 256 or Millions.  Thanks.


Make sure your monitors&sound controll panel is installed. open it up and bump your resolution down to 640X480. that should allow you to get thousands of colors. select thousands of colors and youre off. if that doesnt work you may not have enough vram to support thousands of colors in which case you can go down to your local store and for $40 you can get 2 256k vram simms. (72 pin). install them for a total of one meg of vram (512 ships with that computer). that will CERTAINLY give you enough for thousands of colors.


I checked about the VRAM problem and according to the people I spoke to we should have enough VRAM because I can get millions of colours.  They say its a software problem, thus I would like to know how to fix it.  I've tried changing the resolution to all of them but I still cant get anything but Millions and 256

Try resetting the PRAM memory, if you haven't already.  On startup, hold down the Option-Command-p-r keys.

Hold them down for a couple of startup boings!

   (Command is the key with the cloverleaf).

Alternatively, you can use the freeware utilty, TechTool, to reset the PRAM.  It's available at:

Another thing to try, is to hold down the Option key as you select the "Options..." button in the Monitors control panel.  That sometimes brings up hidden options.



I tried the PRAM using both methods outlined, and got the same result, that I could still only get 256 and Millions of colours.  I also tried it with the Activate all Resolutions on and off.  I'm running Mac OS8 so I couldn't find the options menu within Monitors and Sound.  Sorry about this, but I still cant get it to work.


Try a different resolution higer or lower than normal like 800*600 or something it may reduce teh maximum number of colors to 1,000 and give you a larger screen!

There's a description here of the Quadra 950's video capabilities, mentioning the 16-bit colour (thousands).


You say " I have tried changing the System files over"; does this mean you have done a clean install of the System?

If a clean install of the original System files (without 3rd party extensions installed) doesn't work for you, it could be a hardware problem?

Good luck!




I have tried it in all resoulutions, after getting the activate all resolutions extension.  Unfortanetuly the only resolutions that I can obtain have 256 or millions of colours.

The problem may be related to the on-board video. The computer may think that your 15" monitor is really a 14" monitor. Apple says that the Quadra series is not affected by this behavior, but they occassionally make errors. The fix is to buy an adapter to trick the computer. The Enhance MacLiberty adapter is great and worth all the money. You would need a Mac to Mac model.

wasnt there a quadra monitors extension?? could this have something to do with it?

Before buying some hardware, try contacting Paul Griffin,

He has helped me out before on weird video problems.  He may be able to suggest a software solution, or at least confirm what the problem is.

His company page is at:

Good luck!




I cant seem to find the adaptor you talk about here in Adelaide Australia, I guess I will have to look overseas, although I'm a little broke at the moment with Christmas coming up.  Thus I cant grade your answer, but if anyone know a way I can do it I'd be most happy to know
The specs that Apple has on the web indicate that your computer will do either 8-bit (256) colors or 24-bit (millions) of colors.  There is no mention of 16-bit (thousands) of colors being supported.  See for yourself at


which is a URL very similar to the one birchallr mentioned  :)
To save everyone the trouble of browsing, here's the relevant info on that page:

Built-in Display: none
                      VRAM Configuration: 1MB VRAM
                      VRAM Speed: 80 ns
                      VRAM Expansion: built in
                      Color Bit Depth by Screen Resolution:
                             512x384: 24-bit
                             640x480: 8-bit
                             640x870: 8-bit
                             832x624: 8-bit
                             1152x870: 8-bit

Has thousands of colors ever worked on this machine?  If not, then I think it just isn't made for thousands of colors.

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