Using Apple Remote Desktop Admin to help script ARD kickstart options
Apple Remote Desktop is a tool that just about every Mac admin uses at some point. The client is built into OS X and it’s usually straightforward to turn on. It also includes a command line tool called kickstart which can be used to configure the Apple Remote Desktop client. The kickstart tool is useful because you can use it to script your configuration. That said, if you have a complex ARD configuration, getting the kickstart options correct can be tricky.
One way to help with this is to have Apple Remote Desktop Admin do the kickstart configuration work for you. See below the jump for the details.
Apple Remote Desktop Admin contains the option to create an Apple Remote Desktop client installer. This is available under the File menu as the Create Client Installer… option. This option can be leveraged to create a customized installer that contains the needed kickstart configuration.
1. Launch Apple Remote Desktop Admin
2. Select File: Create Client Installer…
At this point, the kickstart configuration you need is buried deep inside the package in a file named postflight_kickstart_entries. Apple Remote Desktop Admin 3.6.1 saves its installers as a flat package, so you will need to use Pacifist or Apple’s pkgutil command-line tool to extract and access the postflight_kickstart_entries file. Here’s how to do this with pkgutil:
1. Open Terminal and run the following command to expand the contents of the Remote Desktop client installer into a new directory. In this example, I’m expanding the contents into a directory named ard
pkgutil –expand “/path/to/Custom Remote Desktop Installer.pkg” /path/to/ard
2. Run the following command to access the kickstart configuration stored in the postflight_kickstart_entries file:
3. Copy the contents into a convenient text editor and add the appropriate path for the kickstart utility. You will likely also have to add the -targetdisk configuration option. Here’s an example of how this may look:
/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -targetdisk / -activate -configure -clientopts -setmenuextra -menuextra yes -configure -users 'administrator' -access -on -privs -TextMessages -GenerateReports -RestartShutDown -SendFiles -ChangeSettings -configure -allowAccessFor -specifiedUsers -privs -DeleteFiles -TextMessages -OpenQuitApps -GenerateReports -RestartShutDown -SendFiles -ChangeSettings -restart -agent -menu
Note: The kickstart entries will be on multiple lines, but will need to be combined into one line.
4. Once you have the kickstart configuration options you need, you can put them into a script or payload-free package for deployment to your Macs.