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Fix Snow Leopard's Screen Sharing Black Screen Bug

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[Update: This bug appears to have been fixed in the Snow Leopard 10.6.2 release on 10 November 2009. Tell us in the comments if you still have this error connecting from a Snow Leopard system to another Mac or via VNC.]

Snow Leopard shipped with a major bug in its otherwise improved Screen Sharing program. When connecting to many remote systems using Apple's screen-sharing feature, the remote screen initially appears black. Selecting either View > Full Quality or View > Adaptive Quality - even if one of those options is already selected - typically clears the broken state. When connecting to remote VNC servers, some people see white screens instead. (For more details, see "Solve Snow Leopard's Screen Sharing Bug," 7 September 2009.)

TidBITS contributor Chris Pepper pointed me to a potential solution at Mac OS X Hints. The anonymously submitted advice is to change the Screen Sharing program's mode setting to 32 bits. To make this change, follow these steps:

  1. In the Finder, choose Go > Go To Folder.
  2. Enter /System/Library/CoreServices and click OK.
  3. Select the Screen Sharing application, and press Command-I to bring up the Get Info window.
  4. Check the Open in 32-Bit Mode box, and close the window.

The next time the program is launched, it operates in 32-bit mode, which apparently solves the problem. I tested this change, and for two of the three systems I connect to remotely, both of them running Snow Leopard, the fix worked: no more black screen. A third system running Leopard continues to show a black screen and requires toggling the View menu selection.


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Comments about Fix Snow Leopard's Screen Sharing Black Screen Bug
(Comments are closed.)

barefootguru  2009-11-04 16:14
I've had the white screen bug and have been dropping the connection (closing Screen Sharing) and reconnecting. Works every time though Vine Server sometimes crashes. I'll try the view menu trick next time.
Bummer, didn't work for me - Snow Leopard to Snow Leopard.
Weird. I had this issue, not with Apple's Screen Sharing, but with Logmein Mac. I asked Logmein, but they have not responded.
The Leopard version of Screen Sharing (v1.0.2) maintained a list of favourite hosts to connect to ("My Computers") as well as showing a list of currently visible (via BonJour) hosts. This feature has disappeared on Snow Leopard. Does anyone know how to bring it back?
Glenn Fleishman  2009-11-05 19:00
I tried a few tricks, but I think Apple eviscerated it.