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Another method of disabling the GUI at startup System
Here's how you do it. Use pico or vi in the Terminal and edit /Library -> Preferences -> com.apple.loginwindow.plist as root. Make the following change where noted (italicized and extra-indented in the "after" section):

Before:
  ...
  <key>SHOWFULLNAME</key>
  <true/>
  <key>lastUser</key>
  <string>loggedIn</string>
  <key>lastUserName</key>
  ...
After:
  ...
  <key>SHOWFULLNAME</key>
  <true/>
    <key>autoLoginUser</key>
    <string>>console</string>
  <key>lastUser</key>
  <string>Restart</string>
  <key>lastUserName</key>
  ...
Notice the extra ">" in the line with "console" in it (this is to pass ">console" as the login user name). Now reboot, and you will never get the GUI at bootup. It's command line only from that point forward. If you want to go back, edit the file again, and remove those two lines, and reboot.

[robg adds: This seems like a much easier way of disabling the GUI than the method discussed in a previous hint, though I'll admit I don't understand all the nuances of the differences between the two.]
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Another method of disabling the GUI at startup | 7 comments | Create New Account
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Another method of disabling the GUI at startup
Authored by: englabenny on Jun 05, '03 11:13:51AM

Normally, when entering >console mode and logging in, you can type exit to go back to the GUI login pane. Is this not the case after applying this hint?



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The difference between this and other hints
Authored by: a1291762 on Jun 05, '03 07:04:18PM

This hint doesn't prevent the login app from starting, it just automatically logs you into the console. As the poster above noticed, you can exit the console to get back to a graphical login window. (Pressing Ctrl + D at the login: prompt should do it)

With the other methods for disabling the login gui, you can't get back to the login gui easily.

This solution is not suitable for those who want to avoid loading the OS X GUI altogether, but for those who want a graphical startup followed by a console login, this is a nice solution.



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Another method of disabling the GUI at startup
Authored by: snark on Jun 12, '03 12:06:30PM

You've just created an invalid plist file: plists are supposed to contain valid XML and you are lucky that the parser that analyzes this file during the boot process does not barf... and leave you with a nonfunctional system.

The '>' has a special meaning to XML. So to play it safe, instead of

 <string>>console</string>
it should read
 <string>&gt;console</string>
where '&gt;' is the entity code for the '>' character



[ Reply to This | # ]
Another method of disabling the GUI at startup
Authored by: lazyindieboy on Jul 14, '03 05:08:56AM

Well I tried this, and Im not necessarily a master at Unix. Im tryin to get back to the gui, so i can sign in normally, or at least edit the script again to get it back. But im not too sure how to do either, i press ctrl + d at login: but it just brings me back, same with typing exit. help me out



[ Reply to This | # ]
Another method of disabling the GUI at startup
Authored by: Robo-X on Jun 04, '04 06:33:31AM

Edit the file again and remove the lines you added. Then either type exit or reboot. It should then show the normal Login Window.

//Rob



[ Reply to This | # ]
Another method of disabling the GUI at startup
Authored by: mysidia on May 02, '09 09:48:21AM
This is completely incorrect. In fact <string>>console</string>
is well-formed XML. An XML parser that rejects or "barfs" on that input is not a standards compliant XML parser. Less-than and Amphersand must be escaped. The greater than symbol does not NEED to be escaped, except when part of a ]]> sequence.

The relevant portion of the XML standard is section 2.4
http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-xml-20081126/#syntax
"
The ampersand character (&) and the left angle bracket (<) must not appear in their literal form, except when used as markup delimiters, or within a comment, a processing instruction, or a CDATA section.

The right angle bracket (>) MAY be represented using the string " &gt; ", and must, for compatibility, be escaped using either " &gt; " or a character reference when it appears in the string " ]]> " in content, when that string is not marking the end of a CDATA section.
"

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HHHEEELLLPPP!!Another method of disabling the GUI at startup
Authored by: matt101 on Dec 17, '04 03:45:50AM

Hey i tried this suggestion and well when i restarted I saw the what i think was the console screen for like 1 or .5 secs, then the login window appeard,
<key>MasterPasswordHint</key>
<string>****</string>
<key>PicturePathLW</key>
<string>/Library/User Pictures/Animals/Cat.tif</string>
<key>RetriesUntilHint</key>
<integer>3</integer>
<key>SHOWFULLNAME</key>
<true/>
<key>autoLoginUser</key>
<string>&gt;console</string>
<key>lastUser</key>
<string>loggedIn</string>
<key>lastUserName</key>
<string>matt</string>
<key>lastUserUID</key>
<integer>501</integer>
<key>lightWeightLogin</key>
<false/>
<key>nameLW</key>
<string>Matt</string>
<key>noPasswordKey</key>
<false/>
<key>uid</key>
<integer>501</integer>
this is what it looks like after i restarted, i know the loggedIn was Restart, when i changed it, so... can anyone help me, or give me some other suggestions? I am using os x 10.3.7...
Thanks...



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