I need to set the default desktop image, screen saver, sleep image, and log-in background for all users logging into our Macs.

Posted on 2011-09-26
Last Modified: 2016-06-07
I need to set the default desktop image, screen saver, sleep image, and log-in background for all users logging into our Macs.  I'd like to do this from the terminal because theses Macs will be connected to a PC network and so I won't have access to osx server to configure theses settings.   Our systems are running the Snow Leopard 10.6.7.
Question by:kenchalk
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Accepted Solution

Owen Rubin earned 250 total points
ID: 36602360
This is not exactly trivial.  You will need:
1). Admin access. And this may not be enough as some files may be locked by the system and cannot be changed.
2). Because each system will have a different user name, and what you are trying to change would typically be in /Users/user-name/Library or /Preferences, a single command would not easily change this. The command would have to be changed for each machine.
3). There is no way to be sure the screen save you want is available. If not, any change would fail.

The login screen image can be changed and lives here:
I would think simply moving a new image there with the same name will change that.

For the desktop image, I would accomplish this by creating a new folder on the Mac at set up time, in the user's Pictures folder. Call it something like "Desktop Pic", and then inside put a jpg called "DesktopImage.jpg". Initially, select that image on the Mac as the desktop. Then, later, you should be able to remotely copy a new file to that folder with the same name. I am not sure if this works (have not tired it) and it probably will not change right away, but worth a try.

I do not know what "sleep image" is.

I also have not been able to change the active screen save with a command yet, so not sure this is possible.

But why not VNC into each of the machines remotely? If you enable "Screen Sharing" on the Mac, then a standard VNC viewer can access the machine. With VNC access, you can remotely change any of these settings using Finder's built in tools.
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Assisted Solution

schaps earned 250 total points
ID: 36714844
To change the login screen, the best instructions I've found are here:

You can set default settings in a User Template similar to the default user in XP, etc., so that all *new* users who login will get those default settings (if they've already logged into a given Mac, and a profile is already there, you won't be able to affect those users).  Also, without a Mac server to enforce managed preferences, the users can change many settings once they've logged in, but it will not affect the next user(s), who will get the User Template you create.

Here in the procedure I've refined over several years:

On one of the Macs, create a new user called "Template" with short username "temp" and any password (I just use one letter, this is a temporary account). It's best to make that user and administrator, so you can set all the settings you need. Once the user is created, login as that user and set everything just the way you want it, including default homepages on browsers, etc. Then logout, log back in as admin.

Then go to the Terminal and enter the following:

sudo su <enter> (then put in your admin user's password)

then copy and paste the lines below into the Terminal Window:

rm -R /Users/temp/Library/Caches
rm -R /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj
cp -R /Users/temp /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj
rm -R /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Library/Keychains/login.keychain

Now go into Users & Groups again and delete your Template user, and tell it to save the files in a disk image when you are prompted.
Now launch Disk Utility and repair permissions on your hard drive.

Now, all that remains is to test it -- create a standard user called anything you want - then login as that user to see the customized environment.

I was also not clear on what you meant by 'sleep image.' Also, it remains for you to either do the same to all the Macs, or to copy the settings from one to the others. Depending on how many Macs you have, really consider getting a $999 Mac Mini server - it's awesome, and it would allow you to really customize the user experience without having to do it individually.

But if you need to copy these settings to the other Macs, I could help with those commands, too, but I am too tired right now. Good night.

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Expert Comment

by:Owen Rubin
ID: 41631967
Works for me/

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