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After installing Snow Leopard my map network drive application didn't work any more. No problem, but it left an unknown login item that is grayed out and cannot be removed the normal way (also in administrator mode).

Does anybody know how to remove this grayed out unknown login item?

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Please share if you did find a solution, I have the same problem and don't know how to solve it. – deadalnix Nov 21 '12 at 22:18

You can try editing the following plist file directly:


You will need to use Property List Editor to open this plist file, then you should be able to delete the item which corresponds to the grayed out item.

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Could be easier just to right-click on the item (in the login items list) and choose "Reveal in Finder"; and then trash it from there. – user172028 Nov 8 '12 at 10:38
I have the same issue as described above and the item isn"t in that file. – deadalnix Nov 21 '12 at 22:16
For me, the unknown item is not in that plist, and right-clicking does not bring up the "Reveal in Finder" context menu (though it does for the other items). – james.garriss Jan 23 '13 at 16:03

There's a posibility that it's located in the Managed Preferences folder.

Look under /Library/Managed Preferences/USERNAME/loginwindow.plist

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First of all, on the nature of this "UNKNOWN". One of the places where OS keeps a record of login items is loginwindow.plist. The items are stored in a dictionary as name/kind/path values. If one of the applications adds an item not following the pattern it's displayed as "UNKNOWN".

Most probably this record came from network user account software (Active Directory or similar). You can open /Library/Managed Preferences/your-user-name/loginwindow.plist to double check (XCode or TextWrangler can do that). Under AutoLaunchedApplicationDictionary you should see a list of login items. If one of them doesn't follow name/kind/path structure it will be displayed as UNKNOWN. In my case, I have the following:


For a network user account it's impossible to get rid of "UNKNOWN" login item, as loginwindow.plist is created anew on each login.

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  1. Unlock the golden Lock icon on the left bottom corner first.

  2. Now all the Login Items on the list should be all available to edit.

  3. Highlight the items that was grayed out before, use the "minus" button to delete them. Make sure to uncheck the items from the list first.

  4. When you're done, lock the golden lock icon on the left bottom corner.

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See the original post: "it left an unknown login item that is grayed out and cannot be removed the normal way (also in administrator mode)." – robo Dec 6 '12 at 10:10
Yeah, not helpful. – james.garriss Jan 23 '13 at 16:04
This was actually the correct solution for me. An item was grayed out and I was unable to remove it. Had to click the lock first. – Doc Jul 25 '14 at 19:27

In my case, I had a login item that wasn't in either my user preferences (~/Library/Preferences/ or the system preferences (1~/Library/Preferences/`), so none of the prior answers helped.

It turns out, I had something in /Library/StartupItems/. In my case, it was MySQLCOM, presumably put there by an old version of the MySQL installer (I've since then installed a more recent version via Homebrew, which does not put anything in that location). I had deleted that version, but the StartupItem remained, pointing to a now non-existent application.

I deleted MySQLCOM, restarted, and the Unknown item was gone.

So, check that folder, and see if you have anything unexpected that could be pointing to an application you've since deleted. Also, check ~/Library/StartupItems/, though on my Mac, that folder does not exist.

But follow the other suggestions (looking at and loginwindow.plist), as well, as this Unknown problem can have multiple causes.

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