If you use coffee shop wifi services or others that require internet login, you’ve probably noticed in both Lion and Mountain Lion that OS X will produce a pop-up Safari window asking you to login. This can be annoying for several reasons:
1. The window floats on top and gets in the way if you’re trying to do something else
2. The window doesn’t keep cookies or allow plug-ins like 1Password, so you have to enter the login details manually every time
3. Sometimes the pop-up window will simply produce an error message that it can’t connect to the network. You either have to dismiss it manually or wait for it to go (it’ll normally auto-close after about 30 seconds)
If you find this behaviour annoying and want to stop it, there’s a very simple solution (and one that’s also easy to undo if you want to reverse it). Here’s what you do.
1. First go to
[Hard Disk] > System > Library > CoreServices > Captive Network Assistant.app
Click on the app once, and hit ‘return’ on your keyboard. This will make the name editable.
2. Hit the ‘left arrow’ key once to move the cursor to the beginning of the name and to unselect the text.
3. Type an ‘X’ (actually any letter will do, but I like ‘X’ so I can easily find the app later at the bottom of the list even if I forgot its exact name).
4. Hit ‘return’ on the keyboard. At this point, OS X will ask you to provide an Admin password as only Admin users are allowed to mess with files in the System directory. Type in your password and hit ‘OK’.
The name should now read ‘XCaptive Network Assistant.app’.
And that’s it! Captive Network Assistant will never run again unless you decide to change its name back to what it was (to do so, just repeat the procedure above and remove the ‘X’). Of course, you can still login to your internet or coffee shop wifi services by opening a normal browser window. The bonus is now your browser can fill the login details from cookies (if enabled) or your password manager.
featured picture: illuminated jellyfish by weaverglenn
If you see a screen with a progress bar (something like the shot above), your Mac is starting up in Safe Mode. This shouldn’t happen unless the user intentionally wants to do so for troubleshooting purposes. However, if you find that your Mac is defaulting to Safe Mode when you try to start up normally, try the following tips.
1. Stuck Shift key
Check that the Shift key is not accidentally being pressed down or stuck. If you suspect the keyboard may be faulty, plug in a different keyboard.
2. Use Terminal to reset boot-args
Allow the machine to finish booting into Safe Mode, then open Terminal (Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and copy this command into the Terminal window:
sudo nvram boot-args=""
press ‘return’ on your keyboard. Enter an Admin password (type carefully as it will not be echoed to the screen) and restart the Mac.
3. Do a PRAM reset.
In this case, a PRAM reset effectively does the same as No.2 above. However, if No.2 didn’t work, it’s worth trying this way of doing it in case for some reason the boot memory failed to hold the preference setting. You can also do this step instead of Step 2 if you are not comfortable with using the Terminal.
The PRAM reset is done like this:
1. Power down the machine.
2. Locate the following keys on your keyboard in preparation for Step 4:
3. Press the ‘power on’ button.
4. Immediately – and before the grey screen appears – hold down ‘command-option-P-R’ all together.
5. Keep them held down until you’ve heard the start-up chime twice. After you release them you should hear it again, and hopefully your Mac will boot up as it should normally.