Using old/headless MBA as home server problems

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by .mark., Dec 29, 2014.

  1. .mark. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2007
    Jersey, C.I.
    I have an old MBA which has a broken screen so is useless as a laptop. I've been using it as a home server and have had it running in a spare bedroom hooked up to an external monitor for a while with no problems.

    I've since relocated it to the cupboard under the stairs as we had guest staying and didn't want it disturbing them. Also in the long term I like having it out of the way under the stairs.

    My issue is since moving it to under the stairs the 24 inch monitor I had it hooked up too can't go with it. I didn't see this as a problem as I've got auto login set up and planned to just use screen sharing/VNC to jump on it if I need to do any admin tasks.

    The trouble is I've noticed if I don't have the display connected I can't use screen sharing or VNC. I've also noticed if I have the display disconnected when I boot up I think the auto log on is failing as I can ping it on the network but none of the services come up.

    Has anyone seen an issue like this before and know of any workarounds (short of buying a small screen and connecting it!). I've also tried connecting the display, booting up and using screen sharing which is fine, but them if I disconnect the screen I can't VNC onto it again without first connecting the display.
  2. deadshift macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2011

    A laptop without an external screen is prone to narcolepsy. It, or an over-friendly airport base station, may be responding to ping even while it is asleep.

    I have used a "mac mini vga dummy plug" to overcome this kind of problem with a mac mini headless server, long ago. The quoted phrase there has strong google juju. I had a vga dongle and some appropriate resistors on hand, because that's the kind of guy I am.

    As macs are very dynamic about their monitor configuration, lacking a monitor is very problematic for all windowing code. It's possible the login manager is not even showing up because it doesn't have a screen to display on, assuming that you are actually booting, and not suffering from instantaneous narcolepsy.

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