Black Menu Bar on OS X

This is now obsolete with Yosemite

I’ve been looking at my translucent menu bar in OS X for several months, if not a year or two. I don’t really track these things, but I do sometimes feel the need to tinker and change. Who doesn’t?

I wanted to go from the stock gray menu bar, go ahead, glance up at it :-), to a nice black version like this: img blackBar

This is my journey…

First, download the Obsidian Menu Bar theme from Max Rudberg. Install it and you are mostly there.

Next, take a look at your icons. Likely, many will have ‘disappeared’ because they are drawn in black. I had this problem with Skype, DrivePulse, CrashPlan, GoogleDrive, DropBox, and ClamXav Sentry, and all of my iStat menu icons.

Easy Fixes

Difficult Fixes

GoogleDrive

  1. In the Finder, use the ‘Go To Folder…’ menu option to navigate to /Applications
  2. Right click on the application you need to modify. I’ll use GoogleDrive.
  3. Select, ‘Show Package Contents’ in the context menu that pops up after right clicking
  4. Navigate to Contents->Resources
  5. Take notice of the PNG files, these are the things you want to change.
  6. In this case, GoogleDrive ships with ‘inverse’ icons and that is what we want.
  7. Make a backup of the icons somewhere in your home folder
  8. Delete all of the PNG files that start with ‘mac-’ and do NOT have the word ‘inverse’.
  9. Move all of the ‘inverse’ files to their base names. Example: mv mac-animate6-inverse.png mac-animate6.png
  10. Stop and restart GoogleDrive

DrivePulse, ClamXav

These difficult fixes requires the use of a graphics editing tool, such as Gimp.

First, find out where the Application is running from.
DrivePulse runs from /Library/Application\ Support/DriveGenius/DGAgent.app/.
ClamXav runs from /Applications/ClamXav.app/Contents/Resources/ClamXavSentry.app/.

  1. In the Finder, right click on the application you need to modify.
  2. Select, ‘Show Package Contents’ in the context menu that pops up after right clicking
  3. Navigate to Contents->Resources
  4. Take notice of the PNG files, these are the things you want to change.
  5. Open the PNGs in Gimp
  6. For each PNG, use the Color->Invert option in the Gimp menu
  7. File->Export… the new PNG. At this point, you can rename the original PNG, and put your white PNG in it’s place.
  8. Stop and restart the app

Impossible to Fix

Skype. If you touch any file in the Skype application bundle, the app won’t start. Bummer, because they actually ship a white icon. If anyone figures out how to change this, please let me know!

If you choose to go down this road, good luck. I might be able to help you if you get stuck, so drop me a line in the comments.

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