System Domain Hack to Turn Off Leopard’s Translucent Menu Bar

Not for the faint of heart, as it requires diddling with a plist file in the /System/Library/ folder — the “this stuff is not meant for users to diddle with” part of OS X. However, it works, by setting an environment variable that tricks WindowServer into disabling the translucent menu bar.

The original tip from Steve Miner suggests a setting of “1”; this results in an old-school pure white menu bar, which is what we had in the good old days, when we walked six miles to school through three feet of snow, and we liked it. A setting of “0” gives you a dark gray menu bar, and fractions in between 0 and 1 give you varying shades of gray. Commenters at MacOSXHints have deduced that a setting of “0.63” gives you a menu bar that looks pretty close, if not exactly, like the opaque menu bar Leopard shows on systems with older video cards.

Update: DF reader Emiel Efdee concluded that “0.62” is in fact the precise value needed to duplicate Leopard’s “standard” non-translucent menu bar. I hereby name Emiel “DF Reader of the Week”.

Friday, 16 November 2007