3 Replies Latest reply: Mar 15, 2013 1:45 PM by MrHoffman
JakeAp Level 1 (0 points)

Hey and thanks for checking out the thread.


I am wondering if it is possible to have users use a generic account at the same time without any sort of screen sharing.


I have set up a generic user account (for example useraccount, password 1234) for users to use in the time before I can set up a custom user name for them. However, I have run into some issues with this.


When multiple users log on using this generic account, their applications seem to be shared on each screen. In the room with multiple Mac workstations, if someone starts working on Photoshop, Photoshop will open on every one elses screen who is logged on under that generic account.


Is it possible for users to log on using a generic network account and have their own isolated work environment or is this sort of sharing a feature? I am new to Mac servers and am not sure.


Thanks for reading the thread.

OS X Server
  • MrHoffman Level 6 (13,970 points)

    That shared-account approach seems impractical for the various reasons you've identified, as well as the inevitable issue of cleaning up the detritus that'll inevitably build up in a shared account, and for the lack of accountability for activities occuring under the shared account for both auditing and security, and sharing directories would tend to introduce obscure conflicts around which-file-version-wins file updates when the same file is used in several places, and would probably be contrary to any per-user application software licensing agreements that might be involved.


    Put another way, get unique accounts created for folks, and work toward the ability to create accounts for arriving folks, and — if it's applicable here — talk to management about getting any per-user software licensing issues sorted out, whether that's having spare copies purchased and ahead or some advanced notice on accounts, or establishing group software licensing where that's available.


    AFAIK, there are tools around which can automate account creation, too.  Either generic, a tool such as Passenger, or it's certainly feasible to script the account creation sequence.


    Trying this shared-access generic-account approach just looks like it can create more work and more hassles and more effort to me...

  • JakeAp Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for the words of wisdom. I have recently been put in charge of a Mac OSX server, of which my knowledge is rather limited. In my other position, the sysadmin has set up a generic account on the Windows system, an approach which I attempted to emulate.


    I will refocus my efforts appropriately,



  • MrHoffman Level 6 (13,970 points)

    I'm not generally a proponent of using generic accounts on any platform, due to the "fun" involved with auditing, accountability and security.


    Something that's a little more advanced than you might be ready for right now (and you might not have all the software and hardware for this available)....  it is entirely possible to configure what is known as a "golden triangle" or "magic triangle" configuration with Windows Server Active Directory and OS X Server, and this allows your users to have the same login and password on all systems.  This configuration can be — once established — easier to manage, as most of your authentication data is stored in one place; in Microsoft Active Directory.