9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 30, 2010 6:19 AM by tbharber
tbharber Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
On Windows you have the ability to lock down and force a screen saver with the Group Policy Tool. If someone tries to change the setting in the control panel it will grey out the option to turn it off.

I want to do the same thing on my Mac without having to move the Desktop/Screen saver preference in system preferences.

I would like to have users still able to change their wallpaper but force a certain screen saver and make it start every 10 min. Any Thoughts???

Macbook, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • Király Level 6 Level 6 (9,560 points)
    I know to lock a user's screen saver settings without moving the preference pane from the System folder, but the method I know will lock their Desktop picture setting too. I don't think it's possible to lock one and not the other.

    Post back if you want to know how to lock both and I'll be glad to help.
  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (61,945 points)
    Quit being a dictator and let users choose what they want when they're logged into their accounts.
  • V.K. Level 9 Level 9 (56,130 points)
    there is no setting for that. what you can do is lock screensaver preference files themselves. but that will need to be done individually on per-user basis and the users will be able to undo it if they want to (and know how) unless you also change permissions on those files. to do that set screensaver for a user as you want. then go to home directory/library/preferences/by host. select the file com.apple.screensaver..., enter command+i and in the resulting popup check the locked box. another option is to change ownership of this file to an admin user (or to root). but this would have to be done for every individual user.

    a nicer method is to use Workgroup manager which is a part of server admin tools and is a free download. you can use it to remove screensaver and desktop preference pane from all users. I suspect that's the method Kiraly meant.
  • tbharber Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I looked for the com.apple.screensaver file under that folder but do not see it. I looked as a regular user and an admin with no luck. Is that the correct name or is it under another folder?
  • V.K. Level 9 Level 9 (56,130 points)
    you must be looking in the wrong folders. that file exists on every account.
    if you are having trouble finding it enter the following in terminal while logged into your main account

    open ~/library/preferences/byhost


    this will open a finder window for the folder in question locate the file whose name starts with com.apple.screensaver and lock it.
  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (61,945 points)
    Note that there are multiple such files in the ByHost subfolder. If you lock them, you'll have to do that for each user and then preclude those users from unlocking them.
  • V.K. Level 9 Level 9 (56,130 points)
    baltwo wrote:
    Note that there are multiple such files in the ByHost subfolder. If you lock them, you'll have to do that for each user and then preclude those users from unlocking them.

    yes, that's correct. you can do it by changing the ownership on those files for example. the following command will do it if run from an admin account

    sudo chown `id -un` /users//library/preferences/byhost/com.apple.screensaver.


    this will make that admin user the owner of all those files on all accounts and prevent other users from writing to them.
  • Király Level 6 Level 6 (9,560 points)
    V.K., be aware that all that a user needs to do to override that is to just delete the file. Even if the .plist file is owned by somebody else and the user has no write permission to it, the user can still delete it because the user has write privileges to the enclosing folder (~/Library/Preferences).
  • tbharber Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    I created a new "dummy" user to test all of this on. I could not originally find the com.apple.screensaver file as mentioned above even though I was looking in the correct folder.

    After launching the "desktop/screensaver" in system preferences the com.apple.screensaver file appeared in the folder you mentioned. Perhaps it is not created until launched for the first time.

    Anyway for the life of me could not get the method of "locking" the com file to work. I tried it as the normal user and as the admin. I could mark it as locked but even after a reboot it would not prevent the user from launching the preference.

    I ended up downloading the server admin tools which is a much easier way of managing these settings and was very simple to use and after having the user log out/back in the desktop/screensaver preference is grayed out for them which is exactly what I wanted.

    This method works better than expected because it still allows the user change their desktop wallpaper via Safari. The just have to find an image, right click on it and "use image as desktop picture."

    Thanks guys!