KNOWN ISSUE: pcAnywhere for Mac requires that a user be logged on

Article:TECH127293  |  Created: 2010-04-06  |  Updated: 2011-06-01  |  Article URL
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Article Type
Technical Solution



After initiating a pcAnywhere remote control session to a Mac, it will not open at all, or an empty blue/gray/black colored screen will appear.  Also, the Details section of the pcAnywhere window on the remote side always shows 0 KB for Send and Receive.


/opt/altiris/notifications/SymantecpcAPlugin/bin/thinhostd.log may show the following error:

"The host can't lock the lockfile in /tmp/pcAnywhere.lock
Either a host is running or a previously running host was killed. To run the Host, either stop the running host, or start the host using the -f switch to force removal of the lockfile."


  • Mac OS X 10.5 and later
  • pcAnywhere, or pcAnywhere Solution Plug-in for Mac


This is a result of changes in Mac OS X which necessitate pcAnywhere code changes.


Symantec is aware of this behavior, and is planning to resolve this in a future release.

Currently, the work-around is to ensure that a user is first logged on to the Mac user interface. 

NOTE that if no user is logged on and a pcAnywhere session is attempted to a Mac running OS X 10.5 and up, the error noted above will appear in thinhostd.log.  Once that error occurs, it is necessary to perform additional steps of killing the existing pcAnywhere ThinHost process and starting a new one before a pcAnywhere session will succeed.  To automate this, use the following script:

PID=$(ps axco pid,command | grep ThinHost | awk '{print $1}' )
echo $PID
if [ -n $PID ]
    echo "Killing ThinHost"
    kill -9 $PID

This script will check to see if a ThinHost process is running, and kill it. 
Then, it should be possible to work-around the problem by:

  • logging on to the Mac through the console
  • starting the pcAnywhere ThinHost
  • leaving the user logged in to the console

 If you have pcAnywhere Solution, you can create a Run Script task (of type Unix Script) with the preceding code to automate the script.

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