Apple Remote Desktop Glitch

I manage two Apple XServes at work. We just got the second as a replacement for the first. I just finished setting up the second last night, and the install went pretty smoothly. If you’re considering the same with the new Intel XServes, I suggest you do your research for known issues and plan the install. Knowing things like changeip and XServe RAID incompatibilities save lots of headaches.

I still ran into a problem. I use Apple Remote Desktop to manage the servers, but I set it up locally using an LCD, mouse and keyboard. I finished setting it up, and went home. Came in the next day, sat down in front of my Macbook Pro, and tried to login to finish setting permissions to shares. I pulled up the login screen via ARD, typed in my creds, and logged in. I was greeted with this:

I tried restarting ARD via kickstart and rebooting, but that didn’t help. So, I tried the admin account instead, and it worked! Obviously the issue was limited to my account. I searched in my ~/Library/Preferences folder for anything related to ARD or VNC, and promptly removed them. This didn’t help.

I finally got frustrated enough and just removed everything in ~/Library/Preferences (mind you there’s a tilde (~) in front of that path, so actually /Users/xxxx/Library/Preferences). All this will do is change the look and feel of your account back to it’s default. Sure enough, it worked! I was then able to log in via ARD.

This is a known issue with ARD, according to this thread in the Apple support forums. I also tried many of the methods listed in that thread. None of them worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

From what I can tell, the issue has to do with hooking a headless server up to the LCD. The monitor settings get stored in your preferences folder, and can disrupt ARD from working properly. Next time it happens, which I’m sure it will, I’ll dig harder for the actual file that’s causing the issues, and if I find it, I’ll be sure to blog about it again.