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I have my main iMac in my kids room (little house, alas) and often I have to work late at night; I'd like to connect from my MacBook to the iMac keeping the screen black, as in sleep mode. Is there any sort of magic to achieve this? What if I plug a Mini DisplayPort cable? Will it exclude the monitor? Thanks, Guido

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If you use Apple Remote Desktop tools, it is possible to lock the screen, displaying a static image over a black screen, while working on it remotely. Someone may be able to hack together a solution for you that kicks off this screen lock process while you connect with Screen Sharing, but personally I'm a fan of EmmEff's solution. – NReilingh Jan 19 '12 at 2:16

You might be overlooking a simpler solution: throw a sheet/blanket/whatever over the display before you walk out of the room.

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My iMac has a ventilation slot on the back near the top. This should not be covered or the machine could overheat. – bneely Jan 19 '12 at 2:13
Unfounded worry, IMHO, but if one is that worried, it'd be easy enough to fabricate some sort of physical screen blocking apparatus that does not block the port. – EmmEff Jan 19 '12 at 2:48
Fair enough; the current iMac user guide does not warn against blocking the ventilation openings, although that is still my advice! – bneely Jan 19 '12 at 3:01
Further to that, I cannot imagine a common bed sheet would completely block the ventilation port enough to make any significant difference. – EmmEff Jan 19 '12 at 3:19

Lion has the ability to do a virtual desktop from one mac to another. Maybe the following works:

  • Create a second user account on the iMac, with 'sleep display' properties set.
  • Make that account the active account on the iMac, and wait for it to go to sleep.
  • Then use share screen on the MacBook to connect with a virtual desktop to your own account on the iMac.

I am not sure the iMac won't wake up when you virtually connect to it, but it's worth a try.

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