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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
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    Advice for Manging an iMac Business Center
    Hi Everyone,
    I have been browsing around here and have found a lot of useful information, but I have a couple of questions I hope you all can help with

    I will be managing an organizations business center that has four iMac computers. The computers will be used free of charge, however some restrictions need to be put in place. Examples: not changing background, no installing apps, changing settings, etc

    Questions I have:
    1. Are there any pieces of software that would make this easier?
    2. I would like to have the contents of the Downloads, Documents, Photos, etc deleted every night automatically. What is the best way to do this?
    3. What are your thoughts on upgrading these machines to Lion?
    4. Since there are four machines, would it be easiest to set up one machine how I want it and then either copy then mirror the images to the other 3? What do you recommend?


    Thank you for any information you can provide

  2. #2

    schweb's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Specs:
    MacBook Pro | LED Cinema Display | iPhone 4 | iPad 2
    Just utilize the Guest Account that's built-in to the OS:
    Mac OS X 10.6 Help: Creating a guest user account
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  3. #3

    EvenStranger's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 09, 2010
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    Virginia
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    Specs:
    Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd
    The Apple Stores use a program called Deep Freeze from Faronics. You create your master image, make sure everything is set the way you want, and freeze it. From that time on, anyone can make any change they want to the computer, installing software, tweaking preferences, changing background... no worries. When the screensaver kicks in or the computer reboots, the system reverts back to its original state. Deep Freeze has also been used quite a bit in schools where curious children can't help but click on things to see what they do.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
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    9
    Correct me if I am wrong, but a guest account just does not allow access to a regular or admin account. It does not prevent changes or wipe any files on logoff or am I wrong? I could not find any documentation of WHAT exactly a guest account involves. I do need a system to wipe all user files either at the end of night or restart.

    EvenStranger, that looks promising. Do you know if a license is for just one computer or many? I can not find solid information regarding that. If it was for one..I am not sure they'd have the $300 in the budget for it.

  5. #5

    EvenStranger's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 09, 2010
    Location
    Virginia
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    Specs:
    Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd
    Looks like Deep Freeze Mac is about $60 per unit, so four units would be about $240. You may be able to justify the cost by multiplying the number of hours to do the job manually by the hourly wage of the person assigned to do it. If you only allowed one hour per week - times 52 weeks a year times $7 per hour, and you're looking at $364 per year.

    I've honestly never used the guest logon feature. I've configured non-administrative accounts, and even played with restricted accounts, which can be limited to work with only specified applications.

    A less expensive (free), but slightly more work intensive, solution might be to partition the drive with a restore volume. Nightly, weekly, or whenever you feel the need, restore the original software from the restore partition. Not highly recommended due to the wear and tear on the drive by constantly erasing and rewriting, but the cost is right.

  6. #6

    schweb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrw85 View Post
    Correct me if I am wrong, but a guest account just does not allow access to a regular or admin account. It does not prevent changes or wipe any files on logoff or am I wrong?
    Yes, it does reset the account, all settings, and delete any files when you logoff the guest account. Every time you log on, it's reset back to normal.

    You can also use parental controls on a guest account to prevent any other activity you want as well.


    EvenStranger, that looks promising. Do you know if a license is for just one computer or many? I can not find solid information regarding that. If it was for one..I am not sure they'd have the $300 in the budget for it.
    To be honest, I think the Guest Account will more than meet the needs of what you want to do, save your money.
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  7. #7

    EvenStranger's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 09, 2010
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    Virginia
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    Specs:
    Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd
    Wow... totally missed that! I love how I learn something new every day in this group! Thx schweb!

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
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    The problem is - there is no paid person to do it It would be a lot easier - then it would not matter what gets installed as at the end of the day - it would all get erased - I will just have to see if they want to shell out that much money.

    The way I use to have it setup was with a managed account that had some restrictions to prevent them from doing certain things. However, background still got changed, apps installed, etc... It was a real main and didn't work quite right.

    The main areas of concern are:
    • Do not allow background to be changed
    • No applications to be installed
    • Empty the contents of user files every night or logoff
    • Prevent any system setting from being changed

  9. #9

    schweb's Avatar
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    Specs:
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    You must have missed my post on the guest account. It will do all that, one-time setup, never need to bother with it again...and it's free.
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  10. #10


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by schweb View Post
    You must not have read my post on the guest account. It will do all that, one-time setup, never need to bother with it again...and it's free.
    No, for some reason I did not see it! That would be great! The only thing I need to figure out is how to prevent anyone from changing the background. It seems easy to lock down in system prefernces. But they still seem to be able to via right clicking an image and setting is as a background.

    Also, any thoughts on if I should upgrade these to Lion? Based on what I have read - I can make one account for the organization and buy one license and install on all four..Worth it?

  11. #11

    schweb's Avatar
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    Specs:
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    Does it matter if they change the background since it gets wiped as soon as they log out? I think you can also prevent changing it in parental controls.

    As for Lion, I'd say wait. It's brand new, few have used it, and it's not even released yet.
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  12. #12


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
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    Well, they want their branded background to always show. The problem is that noone ever logs out - they just stay logged into an account all day. Unless I set an option to automatically logout after X minutes of no activity..

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
    Posts
    9
    Hi Everyone,

    I am working on setting up the Macs as we speak. I am trying a guest account and it is working with the deletion of files. However, it requires an admin password to install any application. Is there a way where they can install apps without a password but they will be deleted on logout just like any of the files?

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
    Posts
    9
    Another issue I have found is the Guest account can change system wide settings such as the display resolution - and even a restart will not reset this. I also see no option to prevent a guest user from being able to change any system setting.


    Edit: the only way around this seems to be limit applications - and deselect system preferences

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Jul 13, 2011
    Posts
    9
    Hi Everyone,

    I have worked out all of the previous problems.

    The only problem I am having with now is this:

    I have all of the computer set to power down @ 8PM and back on at 8AM. The computers are not shutting down because the guest account that we use on all of these prompts that it will delete all files and the computers never shut down. How can I get around this as I need them to shutdown every night? Is there a way to force shutdown?

    Thanks!

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