Archive for the ‘Mac administration’ Category

Migrating OS X VMs from VMware Fusion 7 Pro to ESXi 5.5

October 31, 2014 Leave a comment

A new feature that appeared in VMware Fusion 7 Pro was its new ESXi management. This included the ability to upload VMs from Fusion directly to an ESXi server. However, when I tried to upload OS X VMs something seemed to go wrong. The upload would work, but the OS X VM would then hang on boot.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.21.50 AM

Non-OS X VMs were uploading fine, so the problem was specific to OS X VMs. Since I could still build OS X VMs using the Windows vSphere client, I didn’t invest a lot of time into solving this issue. Fortunately, Calum Hunter was more motivated in this regard and found a solution.

There are a few things to know about if you want to upload an OS X VM to an ESXi server running 5.5, so I’ve put together a procedure for those who want to leverage Fusion 7 Pro to upload OS X VMs. See below the jump for the details.

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Resetting an account’s ability to log into a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac by using an Apple ID

October 26, 2014 4 comments

Apple’s release of Yosemite has brought with it the ability to use an Apple ID to unlock and reset a forgotten account password to log into a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac. You can use this ability in a couple of ways:

1. By setting up your iCloud account as your account on the Mac in question.

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2. By associating your local or mobile network account on the Mac with an Apple ID, and selecting the option when enabling FileVault 2 to use your Apple ID to unlock the disk and reset your password.

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Note: This method uses Apple’s services to store the needed FileVault 2 recovery key. If your Mac’s FileVault 2 recovery key is not being stored by Apple, you will not be able to use an Apple ID to reset your account’s ability to log into a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac.

For more details, see below the jump.

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New FileVault 2 enablement option in Yosemite’s Setup Assistant

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

One new window that appears in Apple’s Setup Assistant application for Yosemite is one that encourages new users of Yosemite to enable FileVault 2 encryption.


However, this Setup Assistant window appears to be selective as it appears for some users but not others. After some digging with the strings command, it looks like the FileVault 2 option in Setup Assistant does not appear in the following conditions:

  1. The Mac is not a laptop.
  2. The OS is unable to check the processor for certain features.
  3. The processor does not support AES-NI.
  4. The OS is booting from an external drive.
  5. There’s more than one user account on the system.
  6. The boot drive does not have a CoreStorage logical volume set up on it.
  7. The boot drive is already encrypted.
  8. The Mac was configured by the Device Enrollment Program to not display this option.
  9. This window had already appeared for this drive and user account.
  10. The user’s home folder is located somewhere other than the boot drive.
  11. The user has not logged into iCloud on this machine.

These criteria can be examined using the following procedure:

  1. Install Xcode or the Xcode Command Line Tools.
  2. Once Xcode or the Xcode Command Line Tools are installed, open Terminal and run the following command:
strings /System/Library/CoreServices/Setup\ | grep "FDE upsell"

On a 10.10.0 system, that should produce the following output:

Skipping FDE upsell,  machine is not a portable
Skipping FDE upsell, unable to inspect cpu features
Skipping FDE upsell, unable to gather cpu features
Skipping FDE upsell, CPU doesn't have AES instruction set
Skipping FDE upsell, somehow running buddy on a disk image
Skipping FDE upsell, not an internal volume
Skipping FDE upsell, not a single user system
Skipping FDE upsell, root disk is not a CSLV
Skipping FDE upsell, root disk is already FDE
Skipping FDE upsell, system was opted out via Device Enrollment Program setting
Skipping FDE upsell, already occurred for this volume and user
Skipping FDE upsell, user home volume is separate from the system volume
Skipping FDE upsell, not logged into iCloud

First Boot Package Install

October 19, 2014 Leave a comment

With the release of Yosemite, Apple has apparently made an undocumented change to the way it allows packages to be added to the OS installer. If you add any additional packages for installation as part of the OS install/upgrade, they must all be distribution-style flat packages. You can convert a component flat package to be a distribution-style flat packages by running the command below:

productbuild –package /path/to/component.pkg /path/to/distribution.pkg

This change is a problem for First Boot Package Install.pkg and First Boot Package Install With Automated Apple Software Update.pkg, as they are both built as a bundle-style package and not as flat packages. While both First Boot Package Install.pkg and First Boot Package Install With Automated Apple Software Update.pkg run fine on Yosemite, they cannot be added to customized NetInstall images created with System Image Utility or to createOSXinstallPkg-built Yosemite OS installer packages.


To address this issue, I’ve developed First Boot Package Install, an Automator application that will allow the selection of a folder containing installer packages and then generate a distribution-style flat package that enables the selected packages to be installed at startup. It’s designed for use with createOSXinstallPkg with the goal of allowing installer packages that can’t run in the OS X Install environment to be used as part of a createOSXinstallPkg deployment workflow. See below the jump for the details.

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Disabling the iCloud and Diagnostics pop-up windows in Yosemite

October 16, 2014 2 comments

Starting in 10.7.2, Apple has set the iCloud sign-in to pop up on the first login.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 7.07.55 PM

In 10.10, Apple added a new Diagnostics & Usage window that pops up at first login after the iCloud sign-in.

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Since having these pop-up windows appear may not be desirable in all Mac environments, it makes sense to be able to turn this off for new user accounts. As part of preparing for Yosemite in my own shop, I’ve developed a script that should disable both the iCloud and Diagnostics pop-ups on 10.7.2 – 10.10.0. See below the jump for the details.

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Scripted decryption when using a FileVault 2 institutional recovery key with Mavericks’ Recovery HD

October 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Something that has usually been a manually-driven process for me has been FileVault 2 decryption when using an institutional recovery key. In large part, this is because you need to boot to either Recovery HD or Apple’s Internet Recovery. When you combine that with this known issue with decrypting when booted from Recovery HD or Apple’s Internet Recovery, it made me wish for a scripted process for decrypting when using an institutional recovery key.

Apparently, I should wish for things more often because @ttaniguti has developed a script that does precisely that. FileVault Rescue’s script is designed to properly decrypt a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac using an institutional recovery key while the Mac is booted to Mavericks’ Recovery HD or Apple’s Internet Recovery.

In my testing, the script works fine on a FileVault 2-encrypted Mac running 10.9.5 and it avoids the known issues with decrypting while booted from Recovery HD by running diskutil cs revert twice at the proper times in the decryption process.

To use this script, you will need the following:

1. A FileVaultMaster.keychain file that contains the private key of your institutional recovery key.

2. The unlock password for the FileVaultMaster.keychain file stored in a plaintext file named pass.txt

Once you have both of these, copy the two files along with the script to something that you’ll be able to access while booted to Mavericks’ Recovery HD or Apple’s Internet Recovery. A USB flash drive would work well here.

A YouTube video is available to show you how to use the script and I’ve linked it below:

Hat tip to Allister Banks for letting me know about this script.

Disabling the Featured Banner in Casper 9.5.1

September 24, 2014 1 comment

As part of preparing for Yosemite, I’ve started testing Casper 9.5.1. As part of my testing, I wanted to address an issue that first appeared for me in Casper 9.4: The blue Featured banner in Self Service.

I use the Featured setting to publish items to the Self Service landing page. When I upgraded my test environment to Casper 9.4, I noticed that all of my Featured items now had a blue Featured banner. Since everything on the main landing page is set to be Featured, in my opinion the banner is distracting and does not add value.


I have submitted a feature request to be able to turn off the blue Featured banner, but as of 9.5.1 this feature request is marked as UNDER REVIEW and has not been implemented. Since I anticipate that I’ll have Macs running Yosemite within the next month, I’ll likely need to deploy Casper 9.5.1 and I wanted to be able to stop this banner from appearing in 9.5.1’s Self Service.

The approach I adopted was to take a copy of the appropriate PNG file on the Casper server and use Preview’s Instant Alpha tool to make all content in the image transparent. In effect, I wanted to have the Featured banner file still be there (to help avoid failures in the event that something in Self Service was checking for the file’s presence) but have the banner itself be completely invisible to my users. This approach worked just fine in my testing and it appears to be similar to what Christopher Collins is using in his shop.

For those who want a copy of the transparent PNG file that I created, I have it available for download here. Once downloaded and uncompressed, it’ll be a PNG file named casper_95_featured.png.

Using the downloaded PNG file, here’s how to deploy on a Casper server to make the Featured banner transparent:

NOTE: The instructions below are for a Casper server running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, where the JSS Tomcat directory is stored in /usr/local/jss and the Tomcat server has an associated tomcat7 user. The JSS Tomcat directory may be installed in a different location and the Tomcat user may not be named tomcat7 on operating systems other than RHEL . When in doubt, contact JAMF Support for assistance.

1. Log into the Casper server using an account that can use root privileges.

2. Copy casper_95_featured.png into /usr/local/jss/tomcat/webapps/ROOT/images/selfservice2

3. Rename the existing featured.png in /usr/local/jss/tomcat/webapps/ROOT/images/selfservice2 to now be named featured_bak.png

4. Rename casper_95_featured.png to now be named featured.png

5. Run the following command with root privileges:

chown tomcat7:tomcat7 /usr/local/jss/tomcat/webapps/ROOT/images/selfservice2/featured.png

6. Start Self Service and verify that the blue Featured image does not appear.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 7.37.41 AM

If the blue Featured banner is still appearing in Self Service, the Featured banner may be cached on individual Macs To fix this, you can clear the Self Service cache on the affected machines by following the procedure below:

1. Quit Self Service

2. Remove the com.jamfsoftware.selfservice folder from /Users/username/Library/Caches/

3. Relaunch Self Service

The blue Featured banner should no longer appear in Self Service.


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