Textual login bug on Mac OS X 10.3.9

Two users have reported a problem after removing Power Manager from a Mac OS X 10.3 machine.

Thankfully the solution is easy and requires editing only a single file.

After running the removal script and restarting, the login window does not appear. Instead a black screen with white text appears.

Frankly this is scary. Mac users should never have to see the Darwin command line prompt outside of Terminal.app.

Rainbow over a wet Herefordshire view

Restore /etc/authorization

The following steps fix the problem. These instructions use a tool called pico to remove a single line from a configuration file.

  1. Login to an administrator account — probably your normal account.
  2. Type: sudo pico /etc/authorization
  3. Enter your password when prompted.

Next find and remove the line containing: pmauth:test

  1. Start a ‘Where Is’ search — press the key combination: control + w
  2. Search for pmauth — type: pmauth
  3. Remove the line with ‘Cut Text’ — press the key combination: control + k
  4. ‘WriteOut’ the changes — press the combination: control + o
  5. Exit pico — press the key combination: control + x
  6. Type: sudo reboot now

Your Mac will restart and return to normal on starting up.

Why might this happen?

The most likely cause for this problem is the uninstaller script was interrupted, or the script is not handling a customised Mac correctly.

  • Only affects Mac OS X 10.3.9.