Apple Remote Desktop

There are a number of hidden "Easter Eggs" for Sys Admins in Apple's Remote Desktop application -- even if you don't have an administrator's license.

As of Tiger (10.4.2), the Remote Desktop 3.x client software is installed by default, and updates will come via Software Update. For Jaguar and Panther, the newer 3.x clients are not publicly available as a seperate installs, but the ARD 2.2 client can still be downloaded for free by going here.

After downloading and installing the client there are now two command line utilities that can be used to read or modify system settinigs. These are located at:


With ARD present, you can now also access the workstation via a VNC connection. First, open System Preferences, select the Sharing pane, enable Apple Remote Desktop, and then click the Access Privileges... button to set the VNC password.

The Terminal can also be used to turn on VNC access (mostly handy when initially accessing via SSH). This is done via ARD's kickstart command. The command line below will enable VNC and set a new VNC password:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -activate -configure -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes -setvncpw -vncpw "yournewpassword" -restart -agent

The VNC password, which is what we are setting in the command above, is maintained seperately from the NetInfo account passwords. However, both the VNC password and the NetInfo accounts can be used to control remote access to a workstation. Just remember that there is no account name, NetInfo or otherwise, that is associated with the VNC password.

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