locking mac properties

Is there a way to lock the mac properties so you have to login as an administrator in order to be able to download, install, change desktop settings??
Who is Participating?
KelmonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I don't think that it is possible to impose all the restrictions that you are looking for but you can certainly restrict the options of the user by creating a new user account (System Preferences > Accounts) and don't select the "Allow user to administer this computer" check box in the account setup panel.  A Standard User account has restricted permissions that will prevent, for example, significant changes to the system setup in System Preferences (they can, however, do stuff like setting the screensaver and background) and installing new applications into the system Applications folder.  As far as I am aware it is not possible to prevent downloads but you can at least prevent the downloaded applications from being installed in the main Applications folder or running with permissions that could enable them to do harm.

OS X Leopard (10.5) looks like it'll give you more control over these sorts of actions using the new Parental Controls that will be available when the OS is release early next year, assuming it remains on schedule.
When you login as administrator and change a desktop setting you are only changing it for the administrator.  It doesn't affect the other user profiles.
Oh, one other thing.  In case it wasn't obvious (and it probably wasn't), you'll also want to either disable the "Automatically log in as" option entirely in the Accounts panel's Login Options or set this option to the new Standard User account that you created.  As long as the user has logged on as the new Standard User then any attempts to do something potentially bad will require them to supply the user name and password of a user account on the Mac that has Admin privileges, such as the one created when the OS was installed.
Free Tool: IP Lookup

Get more info about an IP address or domain name, such as organization, abuse contacts and geolocation.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

I did just have one idea that might work.

1. Log into the particular user's profile that you are concerned about and set the environment up the way you want it.  
2. Log out and log back in with your own administrative login or the root login.
3. Open the System Preferences panel->Accounts; remove administrative credentials from the concerned user.  This will prevent them from installing software, but not downloading it.
4. Open the concerned users Preferences folder in the finder: %drive%\Users\%username%\Library\Preferences\
5. Locate their Desktop preferences file, com.apple.desktop.plist
6. Show Get Info (command I) for this file.  Change the Ownership to yourself, and give yourself Read & Write access, set Others to Read Only.
7. Now when the concerned user logs inthe will not be able to change the desktop, because they cannot write the settings to the desktop preferences file.  They will not be able to install software because you took away their administrative credentials.

Note: this is just my theory.  I haven't tested it.
I actually think my suggestion explicitly addressed and provided a solution for each item the author asked in his question.
I do not think it will actually work - the parts that will work are covered before you...
Had you tried it?
Actually, I did try it and wrote down the steps as I performed it, but it's not that big of a deal.
Actually, I didn't test it.
Forced accept.

EE Admin
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.