Leopard Screen Sharing – the Ghost in the Mac

Leopard Screen Sharing — the Ghost in the Mac
Mac Tip #329, 12 March 2008

Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) introduced a feature that really helps those of us who have dealings with more than one Mac: Screen Sharing. It allows you to operate one Mac while sitting at another.

I use my MacBook to change things on my Mac mini.

I use my MacBook to change things on my Mac mini.

The screenshot shows me changing things on my Mac mini while I’m using my MacBook. I’m working entirely on the MacBook and am not physically touching any part of the Mac mini.

On the left of the screenshot is this Tip, as I write it on my MacBook. On the right is part of my MacBook’s current desktop picture.

The window in the middle of the screenshot shows my Mac mini’s plain blue desktop, with the Dock at the bottom, a Finder window open, and some windows belonging to my webcam software. I’m about to click a button to change a setting.

Set up Screen Sharing in Leopard

Check the System Preference box to allow Screen Sharing.

Check the System Preference box to allow Screen Sharing.

To set up Screen Sharing in Leopard:

  1. Go to System Preferences on the machine you want to share.
  2. Click on the Sharing Preference Pane.
  3. Check the box beside Screen Sharing.
  4. Close the System Preferences widow if you wish.

There are plenty of ways to refine Screen Sharing, but that gets you started.

To use Screen Sharing

Click the Share Screen button.

Click the Share Screen button.

To use Screen Sharing:

  1. On a different Mac using Leopard go to the Finder and create a New Window (Command N). A Finder window appears.
  2. Look in the Sidebar for the name of the machine whose screen you want to view. Select that machine. The screenshot shows I’ve selected terra-firma, my Mac mini.
  3. Click the Share Screen … button near the top of the Finder window. A Screen Sharing window appears displaying the screen on the machine you wish to control.

Now when you click or scroll around in the Screen Sharing window you will be controlling the shared Mac.

If someone else is sitting at that Mac they will see the cursor move, windows open and close and so on as though a ghost were operating the computer.

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  1. Raffaele Gallieni said:

    I have found a fix for my problem (invisible Time Machine window on a remote Mac Mini without a monitor physically attached).
    You have to use a DVI to Video Adapter to cheat Leopard Detect Displays Routine.
    The only resolution available is 800×600, but it works.

  2. Miraz Jordan said:

    Thanks for your comments here Raffaele. It sounds like an unfortunate glitch. I hope you can find some resolution.

  3. Raffaele Gallieni said:

    Thank you for your answer.
    I use this Mac Mini as a network server and I have 3 external HD’s attached on it so I do need Time Machine via Screen Sharing. With Tiger I have used a VNC client and everything was OK.
    Of course the desktop picture test has no relevance, but it is useful to understand if my problem depends on my configuration.

    The only discussion I have found is this: “http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1420027&tstart=75″ but there isn’t any solution to my problem.
    I wouldn’t like to be forced to simulate a monitor by an hardware modification of the DVI Out.
    Thank you anyway

  4. Miraz Jordan said:

    Ah, OK. I selected a different desktop picture (from those that come with the machine), but no change took place.

    I can’t confirm the Time Machine problem because I’m not using it on that machine and don’t want to turn it on.

    I’m not sure why a desktop picture is relevant if no monitor is attached, but it’s a nuisance f you can’t make good use of Time Machine.

    Have you searched Apple’s forums or filed a bug report?

  5. Raffaele Gallieni said:

    I have the same configuration and everything is OK. The only wrong thing is that on the Mac Mini without a monitor phisically attached to it is impossible to change the Desktop Picture or view the Time Machine Window. Can you confirm this? Thanks

  6. Miraz Jordan said:

    Sure. It’s easy to access the System Prefs.

    I’m not actually using Time Machine with that computer – there’s nothing on it that needs backing up, but all that’s happening is that my keyboard and mouse for the remote Mac are actually attached to whatever Mac is in front of me.

  7. Raffaele Gallieni said:

    Can you change the Desktop Picture or view the Time Machine Window without a monitor attached to the remote controlled Mac Mini?

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