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I was trying to use Synergy (the keyboard sharing program) but found I couldn't use the keyboard to log in after boot. A bit of digging and I discovered I cannot even ping my machine before anybody logs in. This is very inconvenient and unacceptable for multiple reasons. In addition to not being able to log in via Synergy, what if there is a power failure and I want to ssh in remotely, or if I want the web server to be running at startup?

Surely there must be some option to enable networking before anybody logs in. I have tried enabling the web server, remote login, etc. to no avail. I have also looked at various texts which purport to indicate how startup works, but some of the files it mentions (e.g. /etc/rc.boot) don't even exist!

edit: i just did an experiment where I booted up and waited 5 minutes before logging in. (wow that "If you are having trouble logging in message" is annoying, and I had to have keyboard activity to prevent the computer from going sleep.) After I logged in, there were no processes in the entire process list older than the time at which I actually logged in.

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migrated from Mar 1 '12 at 1:57

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Are you using FileVault 2? If so, that's not the login screen you're seeing after powering the Mac on, that's the pre-boot authentication screen. Until you authenticate at that screen, it can't decrypt the disk to actually boot. That's why you'll see the Apple in the middle of the screen after authenticating -- it's actually booting the OS at that point.

If this is the case, this in inherent to FileVault 2's security. The only way to have to OS running before anyone "logs in" is to turn off FileVault 2.

EDIT: Another possibility is that you have 802.1X network authentication set up (e.g. "Enterprise" mode wireless security), which requires authentication in order to join the network. Depending on which mode the client is set up in, it may not have any way to authenticate to the network until someone logs in. But this doesn't match your note about the process list not having anything from before you logged in -- FileVault 2 is the only thing I know that'd explain that.

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Thanks, that was exactly the problem. FileVault 1 didn't support full disk encryption, and it wasn't obvious from system preferences that this feature had been added. – Michael Mar 2 '12 at 19:03

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