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osx Mavericks modify functionality of login screen

Posted on 2014-01-12
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Last Modified: 2014-09-29
Hello

I want to modify the behaviour of Mac OSX Mavericks client when they are operating from the login screen. Specifically I want to modify the behaviour of the keyboard when the login screen is presented. Currently users can invert the colours or adjust the contrast using built in apple keyboard shortcuts. I have been able to modify my accounts behaviour as well as any user accounts that are created to behave appropriately by modifying com.apple.symbolichotkeys.plist but this does not appear to effect the screen when no user is currently logged in. Is there a way to modify the behaviour (or look and feel) of the client before a user has logged in.

Any advice is greatly appreciated
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Question by:elschott
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by:serialband
ID: 39781195
If you're using an external USB keyboard, it would be a simple matter to replace them all with a Windows keyboard.  That's the only sure fire way that works.  Unfortunately, if you have a macbook, there's still the built-in keyboard.

I though that Invert Colors was disabled by default starting from Lion or Mountain Lion.  I had to enable that by going to System Preferences --> Keyboard --> Shortcuts --> Accessibility.

You can flip the keyboard functions so that they act as F1-F12 function keys by default.  They need to press fn to make changes to volume and brightness.  It won't prevent them from doing it, but they will be momentarily blocked until they figure it out.

If you only want to flip a few keys try Function Flip  http://kevingessner.com/software/functionflip/

Have you tried changing the template instead of the individual User setting /System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/Library/Preferences/com.apple.symbolichotkeys.plist  If you did it manually from an logged in user account, the settings take affect system wide, so there must be another file that gets affected.
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Author Comment

by:elschott
ID: 39781362
Thanks for the reply SerialBand. Yes I have put my modified com.apple.symbolichotkeys.plist  in the user template, which as you mention fixes the issue for each user but not the login screen before the user logs in.
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serialband earned 2000 total points
ID: 39784355
You might put a master copy with the keys flipped to function keys in /Library/Preferences/ on every system, rather than in each user's folder.  That should force it system wide rather than per account.  When I flip the function keys from within the System Preferences --> Keyboard GUI, they stay set when I log out or reboot.  It seem strange that the invert colors was actually a user setting modification of the template rather than a default system modification.  A savvy user can still use the fn key to access the media functions on a starndard MacBook keyboard.  You have to switch to a Windows keyboard to avoid those keycodes.

I don't know if you can disable the media functions on a Mac keyboard.  You might be able to find the full key codes and modify them for the plist.  http://softwares.bajram.com/softwares/#Full_Key_Codes  I haven't needed to do what you've wanted before so I'm just researching this myself for my own future configurations of other features.
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