Mac network query
December 3, 2010 4:58 AM   Subscribe

Setting up small mac network with shared user names, some help please!

I know this is probably fairly basic level stuff but here we go:

So we have just got 3 new macs at work which all connect via airport to a wireless broadband network. I've set them up so they all connect fine to the internet, and I understand that you can set up folders to be shared from individual user names (there will be 4 in total - 3 staff with admin privileges, and a guest user with a password but without admin privileges.)

What I don't understand is how to migrate these individual accounts across the network - sure I can set up the 4 accounts individually on the machines and give them the same passwords - but I'd like to set it up so whichever machine you log onto you get your desktop/programmes/documents and settings.

There is also a new time capsule which isn't set up - but maybe useful for this?

Any help or advice would be really appreciated - I can provide more technical info etc if required.
posted by multivalent to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I think you need to run OS X Server for that. Take a look at this document on managing users using local or network accounts.
posted by hariya at 5:11 AM on December 3, 2010

Yeah, you need some sort of Directory service for this. Running OS X Server on a Mac Mini is by far the easiest way of doing this, but it's not hugely difficult to bind Macs to Active Directory if you already have that set up.
posted by Oktober at 5:18 AM on December 3, 2010

Another option is to set up each system with identical apps, etc. and create the user accounts on each machine. Then have one machine designated as a file server, or buy some NAS drive. Map ( or mount) that drive on each of the other Macs. The only drawback here is that any changes to applications, settings etc. would not be reflected on the other machines.
posted by Gungho at 6:26 AM on December 3, 2010

As someone who's set this up before, please note that it's not very friendly, and you'll run into very odd problems that make no sense, or software (like the Adobe CS suite) that runs extremely slowly in a shared environment.

It would be much simpler to stick with workstation accounts for everybody, and have a network storage area where people would place their files. Yes, this doesn't seem ideal conceptually, but you are in for a huge fight with very little reward if you try to do it the "right" way.

If you were asking about dozens of workstations I'd have a different position, and you'd likely have more resources to throw at the problem, but for three workstations? No way.
posted by odinsdream at 6:27 AM on December 3, 2010

Agreed with odinsdream. Are people really going to need to hot desk three machines? If you can tie people down to one machine it will make your life vastly easier.
posted by bonaldi at 9:29 AM on December 3, 2010

OK, thanks for the advice I'm glad that it wasn't me being entirely stupid - if there isn't a way to set this up without server software, then yes, it is too much hassle for a small network.

Now to explain sharing folders to luddite co-workers...
posted by multivalent at 3:36 AM on December 4, 2010

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