locking mac properties

Posted on 2006-11-09
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
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??
Question by:stevek65

Expert Comment

ID: 17919955
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.

Accepted Solution

Kelmon earned 50 total points
ID: 17971476
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.

Expert Comment

ID: 17971487
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.

Expert Comment

ID: 17971570
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,
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.
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Expert Comment

ID: 19198837
I actually think my suggestion explicitly addressed and provided a solution for each item the author asked in his question.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 19199050
I do not think it will actually work - the parts that will work are covered before you...
Had you tried it?

Expert Comment

ID: 19199182
Actually, I did try it and wrote down the steps as I performed it, but it's not that big of a deal.

Expert Comment

ID: 19199190
Actually, I didn't test it.

Expert Comment

ID: 20120446
Forced accept.

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