Migrate from Mac OS X Network Account to Local

Posted on 2011-05-11
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
For one reason and another I'm considering migrating some Mac OS X (10.5 & 10.6) users from network/mobile accounts to local accounts. What's the best way to do this?

I know that the client machines will prioritise any local account over a network account, but I think I probably need to reset permissions / ownership of the home folder to do this properly. I heard there may be an existing procedure for this and wonder if anyone can explain or attach it?

Question by:mr-gadget
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    Take a look at the following:

    I used this technique to do what you are suggesting going the other direction and I would imagine that it would also work to go the direction you are trying to go as well.
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    The first thing is that you should not have a local and network account that have the same names.

    Next, to migrate the account, create the local account from the system preferences. After the account is created, I would use the ditto command to copy the data between user home folders, followed by the terminal command chown -Rfv <owner> </filename>
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the suggestion. I did consider doing that but it seems like a lot of copying when the home folder is already there. I just want to make sure that the right ownership and permissions are assigned.

    Thanks also... why should you not have a local and network account that have the same names? My understanding is that the Mac will simply use the local account in preference to the network one. So, if I'm planning to stop using the network account, other than for file-server and email authentication there shouldn't be an issue?

    Virtually all the Macs I want to change have mobile accounts, so there's already a home folder on the local drive.

    To put this into context...
    There have been endless sync problems with mobile accounts since long before I joined this company and now we have a server performance problem too ( I'm considering taking network accounts out of the equation completely for the time being, perhaps to reintroduce them at a later date.
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    It seems there is an easier way to do this.

    • Delete the mobile user account for [username] on the local machine.
    • Rename the mobile user home folder from [username].deleted to [username]
    • Create new local account called [username]
    • Accept the option to use the existing home folder for [username]

    Job done.

    This seems to be working for me without any apparent problems.
    LVL 67

    Expert Comment

    This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

    Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
    - Increase transparency
    - Onboard new hires faster
    - Access from mobile/offline

    Suggested Solutions

    In this article we will discuss some EI Capitan Mail app issues and provide some manual process to resolve them.
    In this article we have discussed about the OS X EI Capitan and how to fix Wi-Fi issue in OS X El Capitan. We have explained how to delete system level preferences and create a new Wi-Fi location to resolve Wi-Fi issue.
    Need more eyes on your posted question? Go ahead and follow the quick steps in this video to learn how to Request Attention to your question. *Log into your Experts Exchange account *Find the question you want to Request Attention for *Go to the e…
    In this tutorial you'll learn about bandwidth monitoring with flows and packet sniffing with our network monitoring solution PRTG Network Monitor ( If you're interested in additional methods for monitoring bandwidt…

    779 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    16 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now