Login Window Policy Banner for OS X

Greetings mac admins and happy new year! I first posted about this feature back in November 2012 but thought that it was worth a revisit since this is such a great little feature that many are still not aware of, despite its initial appearance being way back with the release of OS X Lion (10.7).

Every now and then I have a student on an Apple Training course that asks if something like this is possible and so I decided to start the year by updating this little number!

So what is this feature and why is it so useful?

Many institutions enforce usage policies to make clear to their users what they can and cannot do on a company computer.
Making users aware of these policies has often been provided via an email, verbally during an induction programme of a new member of staff or on printed documentation or signs.
In more recent times, MDM solutions are becoming more popular and also have ways to enforce these policies. (http://www.amsys.co.uk/tag/mdm/)
For example, schools, colleges and universities will need to make students aware of exactly what access they are entitled to on a public computer and perhaps where to correctly save their work.
With the release of OS X Lion, Apple introduced the ability to display a ‘Policy Banner’ at the Login Window of an OS X computer that requires a user to acknowledge certain conditions before proceeding. Perfect for enforcing these usage policies.
What is even better about this feature is it’s simplicity to set it up.
So, here are the documented simple steps to create a Login window policy banner for OS X Lion (or later) :
Step 1: Create a text document (using TextEdit) with the information you wish to display at the login window.
You can use either a Plain Text File (.txt), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Rich Text Format Directory (.rtfd)
Step 2: Save this file with the exact title ‘PolicyBanner’ to your Desktop. (The document MUST be titled exactly ‘PolicyBanner’ as one word, with a capital ‘P’ and ’B’ with NO space between the 2 words).
Here’s an example of a document you could create, notice you can add images as well as text to the document, so perhaps a company logo would be a nice touch  :
Login Window Policy BannerImage1

Step 3: Copy the ‘PolicyBanner’ file to the /Library/Security/ folder, authenticating as an Administrator user when requested:

Login Window Policy BannerImage2
Login Window Policy BannerImage3

Voilà! You’re done! Next time the login window is displayed on the computer, the user will be faced with this policy banner, which is titled ‘Agreement’. They will have to click ‘Accept’ before they can login :

Login Window Policy BannerImage4

While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.
Note: The above steps and screenshots were performed on a Mac running OS X El Capitan v10.11.2 (which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing), however these steps have not changed since this feature was originally released in OS X Lion v10.7.0 and therefore should work with any release of OS X later than and including OS X Lion v10.7.0.