Kickstart Man Page

Kickstart is a great utility to help you configure Apple Remote Desktop from the apple command line. There are many scenarios where you might need this – especially in bulk imaging, scripting, and/or package making. The following kickstart man page was created with the following command:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -help

You could also do the following

sudo cd /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/

sudo ./kickstart -help

Example on how to use this coming soon!

kickstart — Quickly uninstall, install, activate, configure, and/or restart
             components of Apple Remote Desktop without a reboot.

kickstart -uninstall -files -settings -prefs

          -install -package 


          -configure -users  
            -access -on  -off 
            -privs  -all -none

                    -allUsers [-privs ]
            -computerinfo -set1 -1  
                          -set2 -2  
                          -set3 -3  
                          -set4 -4 

              -setmenuextra -menuextra  yes
              -setdirlogins -dirlogins  yes
              -setreqperm   -reqperm    no
              -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy  yes
              -setvncpw     -vncpw      mynewpw
              -setwbem      -wbem       no


          -restart -agent -console -menu



          -help     ## Show verbose documentation


– Uninstall program files (but not preferences and settings), install the given package, and then restart the service.
  kickstart -uninstall -files -install -package RD_Admin_Install.pkg -restart -console

– Install the given package and then restart the ARD agent.
  kickstart -install -package RD_Client_Install.pkg -restart -agent

– On 10.4 and earlier, stop the Remote Management service but, if activated, it will start after the next computer restart.
– On 10.5 and later, use kickstart -deactivate instead.
  kickstart -stop

– Stop the Remote Management service and deactivate it so it will not start after the next computer restart.
  kickstart -deactivate -stop 

– Restart the agent.
  kickstart -restart -agent -console

– Activate the Remote Management service and then restart the agent.
  kickstart -activate -restart -agent -console

– Activate the Remote Management service, enable access, and restart the agent.
  kickstart -activate -configure -access -on -restart -agent

– Disable user access.
  kickstart -configure -access -off

– Give admin and bob all access.
  kickstart -configure -access -on -privs -all -users admin,bob

– Use Directory Server accounts for authentication. Users must be a member of one of the ARD directory groups to authenticate.
  kickstart -configure -clientopts -setdirlogins -dirlogins yes

– Disable the Remote Management menu extra.
  kickstart -configure -clientopts -setmenuextra -menuextra no

The following examples are only for Mac OS X 10.5 and later.

– Allow access for only these users (the users must be specified in a separate command).
  kickstart -configure -allowAccessFor -specifiedUsers

– Allow access for all users and give all users full access.
  kickstart -configure -allowAccessFor -allUsers -privs -all

– Start the Remote Management service.
  kickstart -activate

Version 0.9


This script can be run like any UNIX tool from the command line or
called from another script.

Before starting:

– Use this script at your own risk.  Read it first and understand it.

– Log in as an administrator (you must have sudo privileges)

– Copy this script to any location you like (such as /usr/bin/local/)

– Ensure this file has Unix line endings, or it won’t run.


– Run the script using “sudo” (enter your password if prompted)

      sudo ./kickstart -restart -agent

Command-line switches:

The optional “parent” switches activate the top level kickstart features:


These features can be selected independently, but will always be done
in the order shown above.

For anything interesting to happen, you *must* specify one or more of
the parent options, plus one or more child options for those that
require them.  Child options will be ignored unless their parent
option is also supplied.

All options are switches (they take no arguments), except for -package  -users  and -mask , as noted below.

-uninstall  ## Enable the “uninstall” options:

  -files    ## Uninstall all ARD-related files
  -settings ## Remove access privileges in System Preferences
  -prefs    ## Remove Remote Desktop administrator preferences

-install    ## Enable the “install” options:

  -package path ## Specify the path to an installer package to run

-configure  ## Enable the “configure” options:

  -users john,admin ## Specify users to set privs or access (default is all users)

  -activate ## Activate ARD agent in Sys Prefs to run at startup

  -deactivate ## Deactivate ARD agent in Sys Prefs to run at startup

  -access   ## Set access for users: 
    -on     ## Grant access
    -off    ## Deny  access

  -privs    ## Set the user’s access privileges:
    -none               ## Disable all privileges for specified user
    -all                ## Grant all privileges (default)…
                        ## … or grant any these privileges…
    -DeleteFiles        ##
    -ControlObserve     ## Control AND observe (unless ObserveOnly is also specified)
    -TextMessages       ## Send a text message
    -ShowObserve        ## Show client when being observed or controlled
    -OpenQuitApps       ## Open and quit aplicationns
    -GenerateReports    ## Generate reports (and search hard drive)
    -RestartShutDown    ##
    -SendFiles          ## Send *and/or* retrieve files
    -ChangeSettings     ## Change system settings
    -ObserveOnly        ## Modify ControlObserve option to allow Observe mode only

    -mask number        ## Specify “naprivs” mask numerically instead (advanced)

  -allowAccessFor ## Specify the Remote Management access mode
    -allUsers       ## Grant access to all local users
    -specifiedUsers ## Only grant access to users with privileges

  -computerinfo         ## Specify all four computer info fields (default for each is empty)
     -set1 -1  
     -set2 -2  
     -set3 -3  
     -set4 -4 

  -clientopts           ## Allow specification of several opts.
     -setmenuextra -menuextra  yes|no        ## Set whether menu extra appears in menu bar
     -setdirlogins -dirlogins  yes|no        ## Set whether directory logins are allowed
     -setreqperm   -reqperm    yes|no        ## Allow VNC guests to request permission
     -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy  yes|no        ## Allow VNC Legacy password mode
     -setvncpw     -vncpw      mynewpw       ## Set VNC Legacy PW
     -setwbem      -wbem       yes|no        ## Allow incoming WBEM requests over IP        

-stop       ## Stop the agent and/or console program (N/A if targetdisk is not /)

-restart    ## Enable the “restart” options:         (N/A if targetdisk is not /)

  -agent    ## Restart the ARD Agent and helper
  -console  ## Restart the console application
  -menu     ## Restart the menu extra

-targetdisk ## Disk on which to operate, specified as a mountpoint in
            ## the current filesystem.  Defaults to the current boot volume: “/”.
            ## NOTE: Disables the -restart options (does not affect currently
            ## running processes).

-verbose    ## Print (non-localizable) output from installer tool (if used)
-quiet      ## No feedback; just run.

-help       ## Print this extended help message

ARD has four main components:

1) ARD Helper
2) ARD Agent & associated daemons
3) ARD Menu Extra    (controlled by the SystemUIServer)
4) ARD Admin Console (if you have an Administrator license)

What this script does:

1) Any running ARD components will be stopped as needed.  For example,
   they’ll be stopped before an uninstall, reinstall, or restart
   request.  They will not be restarted unless you specify the
   -restart options.

2) Components will be restarted as required.  For example, restarting
   the administrator console forces a restart of the agent.
   Restarting the agent, in turn, forces a restart of the helper.

3) If you -uninstall but don’t specify a new installer to run, then
   the -restart family of switches will be ignored.

4) Options can be specified in any order, but remember that the
   options are ignored unless their parent options are specified.  For
   example, -package is ignored unless -install is specified.


You can make yourself a GUI-based kickstarter program to run this
script if you like.  The options, set in the console, can be conveyed
via environment variables to this script, per a spec shown in the
source code for this script (or the traditional way using command-line
switches).  Be sure the console application runs this script with sudo
privileges. The console should also specify its own location in the
APP environment variable, and may specify the location of a
STRINGS_FILE to use to load string definitions for any localizable
messages produced by this script.

A GUI console could stay up & running between runs of the script but
should avoid running multiple instances of this script at the same


This script can be used to grant very permissive incoming access
permissions.  Do not use the -activate and -configure features unless
you know exactly what you’re doing.

Blessing A Mac Hard Drive

Blessing Mac Hard Drive

In the world of IT, you never know what you are going to come up against. I have seen some of the strangest stuff imaginable pop up over time, Apple and PC alike. The one thing they all have in common – an end user who can provide no details to the events leading up to the event. With that being said, here is the first of hopefully many installments of my experiences and how I fixed the impossible. Okay, definitely not impossible – just checking if you are paying attention. On we go…

Don’t care about the long story? Skip it and see the direct details!

Today I encountered two iBooks that hung on the network imaging process. Naturally, my impatience got the best of me and I decided to restart them after some time of not finishing. As it turns out, the image process completed successfully – minus being able to boot.

On first startup:

I got the dreaded folder screen, but it never showed the question mark that I have grown accustomed to seeing.

I restart holding the option key just after the Apple “Chime” noise:

This allowed me to select the drive and actually boot up the computer. It was working! Kind of…

Now, I restart the computer and it boots right back to the same folder screen with no question mark. So the only way it will boot is by holding the option key at startup and selecting the boot volume.

I decide to try to set the startup disk by going to System Preferences -> Startup Disk and the drive doesn’t show up to select. Somehow, I am booted to a drive that Startup Disk doesn’t even recognize.

Boot to CD and startup disk gives me the same thing…


1.) iBook will not boot on its own– only get Apple folder with face
2.) Can boot when hold option key and select the boot volume
3.) Hard drive does not show up in “System Preferences… -> Startup Disk” to set as the boot drive
4.) Drive show in disk utility – and verifies successfully

The Fix:

bless --folder /Volumes/YOURHARDDRIVENAME/System/Library/CoreServices --bootinfo –bootefi

I issued this command to bless (make it bootable) the system and had it rebuild the boot files needed.

Next I set the boot drive with the following command.

bless --mount /Volumes/YOURHARDDIVENAME –setBoot

NOTE: If your hard drive name has a space in it – you need to escape the space with a backslash. If your hard drive name is “Macintosh HD” the command would be the following.

bless --mount /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD –setBoot

Voila – iBook was completely fixed!


Take this experience with caution – and if you are not sure if it applies to your situation – do not attempt it. I take no responsibilities for your problems – I do that enough in my day job!