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.

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5 Responses to “Setting up window policy banner in OS X lion & Mountain Lion”

  1. Tim says:

    Good tip.

    I wouldn’t recommend pointing to a URL. A good point made out by HR is that someone can’t agree to terms on that link until they login to then follow the link.

  2. Wylie says:

    Is there a possible way to create a button that when a user sees the user policy and decides not to agree to automatically log them off or prevent them from logging into the Mac. Thanks

  3. Russell says:

    Hi Wylie.

    To modify the policy banner would mean modifying system code, this is of course not advisable.

    The ‘Agree’ button is at the login window BEFORE any user has logged in, so there is no need to automatically log any user off as there is no user’s logged in at this stage.

    You can only log in to the mac by agreeing to the policy banner and then entering correct user authentication details at the login window.

    Therefore, by not agreeing to the policy banner, they are prevented from logging into the mac.

    Russ.

  4. Marta says:

    Hi
    When implemented on OS 10.7.5 user needs to input details twice as this popup come out twice.
    Have you come across that issue , and do you have a solution please.

    Marta

  5. Hello Marta.

    I’m afraid i haven’t experienced this issue myself, however it has been along time since i have worked with OS X 10.7.

    I would recommend you remove the PolicyBanner file from /Library/Security/ then restart the machine and verify that login is fine without the file.

    If the issue only reoccurs when he file is reinstalled, there may be a bug with 10.7.5 which you can report to apple at : http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

    You may also find my colleagues in our dedicated Apple Mac Support Services Team can offer other solutions.

    Good luck!

    Russell.

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