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In system preferences, if I click the "lock" icon to allow me to make changes as the administrator, no dialog opens. The message "Authenticating..." appears momentarily, then disappears, and the lock stays locked.

I'm on OS X 10.6.8.

Any idea what could cause this or how to fix it?

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Are you an administrator, regular/limited user, or guest user? –  CajunLuke Aug 29 '12 at 18:20
    
Administrator.. –  keflavich Aug 29 '12 at 19:43
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3 Answers 3

I've had this same issue for months. Before it was my old MBP since "upgrading" from Snow Leopard to Lion, and now again on my brand new MBP with Mountain Lion. After some digging it looks like a fairly common problem, possibly to do with CAC/ID card readers.

Anyway, this worked for me (without a reboot!). From Terminal:

sudo pkill -HUP securityd

When I did this Mail apparently lost it's connection to the security framework and started prompting me for passwords; I just restarted it and it was good to go.

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Interesting - I'd like to try this, but I already fixed my problem by deleting all of my preferences and rebooting. I'll try next time around... –  keflavich Sep 27 '12 at 1:03
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Hm. I wish that worked for me. Deleting my prefs and rebooting did nothing, so it's either because we have different environments or different problems entirely. Oh well. –  MisterEd Sep 27 '12 at 23:35
    
It worked for me without rebooting! –  Pavel Nikolov Mar 7 '13 at 19:57
    
+1 worked also for me. And yes, my problem is related to CAC/ID card reader (Estonian ID card). So I can confirm that this solution works if your issues are also related to CAC/ID card reader. FYI: I'm on OSX 10.7.5. –  Neeme Praks Apr 23 '13 at 19:08
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BTW, "pkill" is not available on OSX by default (at least not on 10.7.5), you can use "killall" for the same purpose: sudo killall -HUP securityd –  Neeme Praks Apr 23 '13 at 19:11
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It sounds as an issue either with permissions or keychains. Try repairing them both.

To check Keychains for problems just:

  1. Locate the Keychain Access application, under /Applications/Utilities.
  2. Choose Keychain Access > Keychain First Aid.
  3. Enter your User name and Password.
  4. Select Verify and click Start.
  5. If any problems were found, select Repair and click Start again.
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That's great to know about it. I did the verify & repair (though nothing was reported to be wrong), but unfortunately it did not fix (or in any way change) the problem. –  keflavich Aug 29 '12 at 19:55
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This issue has something to do with authd. You can just kill or force authd to quit like this (in Terminal on Mavericks):

sudo pkill -HUP authd

(when prompted, type your password.)

Just killing securityd doesn't work on Mavericks.

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