Help me get rid of these weird black lines on my Mac
May 31, 2010 9:14 AM   Subscribe

My Macbook's been acting strange recently. I'm getting weird straight, black lines around open windows. (screenshot inside) Help!

This is how it looks like. I'd appreciate any help. Thanks!
posted by mordecai to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Which video card do you have? (Open System Profiler and look under Graphics/Displays.) Some MBs and MBPs are known to have issues with their motherboards/graphics cards—you might be able to get it fixed for free.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2010

The video card might be running hot, if you run a 3d program, do you get artifacts in the textures too?

Also, you might want to scrub the photo of your gmail account.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

What year is your MacBook? My 2008 version had a well documented graphics card/logic board issue to do with overheating. It was visible mostly as weird screen redraws (which is what it looks like you have) and text tearing during any kind of scrolling or resizing.

They replaced the logic board on mine and I believe the warrantee is extended for that model.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2010

Yeah, it's worth noting that the strange lines you're seeing appear in places where OSX normally draws shadows. Behind the window, underneath the menu bar, etc. On modern macbooks, a lot of that stuff is offloaded straight to the graphics card. If something's going wrong with it, it's not inconceivable that something like 'shadow overlay' could appear goofy.
posted by verb at 10:21 AM on May 31, 2010

I could be a bad ribbon cable between the video card and the display. I've had a similar problem on a laptop I had. I returned it to the manufacturer and they replaced the cable and all was fine.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:48 AM on May 31, 2010

I could be a bad ribbon cable between the video card and the display.

Maybe, but remember that we're seeing a software based screenshot, so a bad connection wouldn't show up.
posted by niles at 11:28 AM on May 31, 2010

I've seen this in the past on my Macbook (approx. 2 years old), and while I don't know what causes it I have always found that a reboot makes the problem go away. It seems to appear for me when I've had my laptop on for a long time, like after a month or two of sleep/wake cycles and home/office use.
posted by migurski at 1:13 PM on May 31, 2010

Yep, this is a bad graphics card issue. Your Mac needs service.
posted by Mwongozi at 3:45 PM on May 31, 2010

This is a cmd-shift-3 screenshot right? If so, graphics card/hardware issue wouldn't show up on it. It must be a software issue.

I've had this happen rarely before. A restart usually fixes it. Hopefully Apple will fix it properly in a future software update
posted by derbs at 4:59 PM on May 31, 2010

Response by poster: thanks for all your help! yes, this is a cmd+shift+3 screenshot and yes, a reboot always fixes the problem. I just wanted to be sure. my Macbook's from 2008. maybe it's a logic card issue after all. thanks again for all your help!
posted by mordecai at 6:56 PM on May 31, 2010

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