Setting up window policy banner in OS X lion & Mountain Lion

I cannot believe I haven’t yet blogged about this superb feature which was released in OS X Lion.

Many companies have usage policies which users have to be made aware of whenever they use a company computer. Applying these policies has often been done via email, word of mouth or on printed documentation or signs.

Many schools, colleges and universities will need to make students aware of exactly what access they are entitled to on a public computer and perhaps where to correctly save their work.

OS X Lion introduced the ability to display a banner at the Login Window that requires a user to acknowledge before proceeding. Perfect for enforcing these usage policies.

Here’s the simple steps to create a Login window policy banner:

Step 1: Create a text document with the information you wish to display at the login window. You can use either a Plain Text File (.txt), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Rich Text Format Directory (.rtfd).

Step 2: Save this file with the title ‘PolicyBanner’ to your desktop. (The document MUST be titled exactly ‘PolicyBanner’ as one word, with a capital P and B).
Here’s an example of a document you could create, notice you can add images as well as text to the document, so perhaps a company logo would be a nice touch:

Step 3: Copy the PolicyBanner file to the /Library/Security/ folder, authenticating as an Administrator user.

Voilà! You’re done! Next time the login window is displayed on the computer, the user will be faced with this policy banner, which is titled ‘Agreement’. They will have to click ‘Accept’ before they can login.

This feature has been tested with OS X v10.7.0 through to OS X v10.8.2 which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing.