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Separate PreferencePanes for users

Posted on 2015-01-20
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Last Modified: 2015-03-05
Setup: Users are admins of their MacBook Airs. I have an admin account on each laptop. No directory services are used.

I would like to remove certain preference panes from their account but still have all preference panes available under my admin account. How can I do this?
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Question by:jerryesd
7 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:turrican
ID: 40560921
When you have System Preferences open, go to View -> Customize and you can "hide" any preference panes you might want to.

This does not prevent the user from going in and "un hiding" any of them, if that's what you're really looking for - but it does put them "out of sight, out of mind", if that works for your needs.
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Author Comment

by:jerryesd
ID: 40561211
I am looking for something a little tougher for users to get around.

As administrators, I know that they can get around whatever I do. However, these users are not going to be using Terminal to issue unix commands to modify their system. So, I don't need the solution to be too complex. I want to still be able to use the GUI to make changes on their computer as needed. I don't want to have to figure out UNIX commands to see how things are set on their computer and to make changes to them. For me, the GUI is much simpler.

Can preference panes be disabled or removed on a per user basis?
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Marc Alonso
ID: 40564366
As far as I know, you can only disable the Systems Preferences completely. I don't think it is possible to limit some sections of it. Without knowing what OS you're running, the only way I can think of on the top of my head in Yosemite to disable the System Preferences is to:

1. Go into System Preferences and into Users and Groups
2. Create a test administrator account
3. Check "Enable Parental Controls"
4. Click "Enable" when the warning comes up
5. Click on "Open Parental Controls"
6. Check "Limit Applications" under the user you want to restrict
7. Uncheck "System Preferences"
8. Login as the test account and you now shouldn't be able to open the System Preferences at all
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Author Comment

by:jerryesd
ID: 40569486
I just came across a user's laptop with Yosemite on it that had all preference panes available in system properties in one account and only certain preference panes available in another account. That is just what I want. However, I do not understand how it was done. I do not know where the preference panes are located for each account. Once I know that, I then need a UNIX command to remove certain preference panes from an account.
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Accepted Solution

by:
serialband earned 500 total points
ID: 40571208
You'll probably have to set it in one account to get the changes you need then just copy  ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.systempreferences.plist to another account.  It does not set anything permanently if the user "owns" the file.  If you make it owned by another user account, you could "lock" it so the changes don't get saved when the user tries to change them.
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Author Comment

by:jerryesd
ID: 40582676
I'll give that a try.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jerryesd
ID: 40647190
This did the trick.
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