Apple Remote Desktop Client 3.3.1 update breaks screen sharing

Some people who have applied the recent Remote Desktop Client 3.3.1 update have had problems with screen sharing between their Macs, with the connection being established properly but resulting in a blank window and no way to view the remote Mac.

Written by Topher Kessler

Some people who have applied the recent Remote Desktop Client 3.3.1 update have had problems with screen sharing between their Macs, with the connection being established properly but resulting in a blank window and no way to view the remote Mac.

Apple discussion poster "scottx" writes:

"I installed the Apple Remote Desktop 3.3.1 Client update when prompted by Software Update. I have never used Apple Remote management but use Screen Sharing all the time. The update successfully completed but now when I connect to my Mini from my PowerBook I get the Screen Sharing window but it is black and flashes intermittently, but always returns to black. There is no error message to indicate that it is failing to connect. I tried to control the cursor and it is non-responsive."

This problem seems to be helped by settings changes on the client computer, and as such could be from corruption in the preferences files for the various remote desktop applications and services. Try removing the following files and then restarting your computer to see if the problem goes away (do this on both the client and server computers):

/Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteManagement.plist
/username/Library/Preferences/com.apple.ScreenSharing.plist

Additionally, try disabling and re-enabling screen sharing or remote management (whichever you use) to reset the services, and possibly try screen sharing if you use remote management, or switch to remote management if you are having troubles with screen sharing. Both of these use the same screen-sharing technologies, but remote management contains a few more options for controlling your Mac than screen sharing.

Lastly, try disabling the OS X firewall, which may interfere with the connections on a per-application basis and allow for third-party VNC clients to work but not Apple's screen sharing. To clear the firewall's settings, remove the file called "com.apple.alf.plist" from the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/ folder and then either restart the computer or disable and re-enable the firewall in the System Preferences.

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Topher has been an avid Mac user for the past 10-15 years, and has been a contributing author to MacFixIt for just over a year now. One of his diehard passions has been troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware both for family and friends, as well as in the workplace. He and the newly formed MacFixIt team are hoping to bring enhanced and more personable content to our readers, and keep the MacFixIt community going here at CNET. If you have questions or comments for Topher or the other MacFixIt editors, feel free to contact us at http://www.macfixit.com/contact

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