2 Replies Latest reply: Nov 16, 2006 5:19 AM by David L. Huxtable
David L. Huxtable Level 1 Level 1

I am planning on moving the user accounts from several Mac OS X client machines to a new Mac OS X Server machine (Quad core Xeon MacPro). I am very familiar with OS X client in a support environment, but do not have extensive experience with Server.

I read over the instructions in this article


and it appears to be fairly straight forward, although I do have some questions regarding the existing data (home folders) and how to set the clients to log in to the network account.

Previously, in the event that I have needed to move a person's home directory to a new computer or recover from a corrupt OS (and Archive&install was not an option), in OS X client I would:

1) Back up the home directory.
2) Erase/reinstall OS X client.
3) Log in as Root.
4) Go into "Accounts" pref pane and create user with same short name as original/backed-up home directory.
5) Replace the newly created home directory with the backed-up home directory.
6) Go into Terminal and chown/chgrp the home directory to username/staff, respectively.

This would result in a perfectly migrated user account. All settings and files working just as they did on the previous system/install of OS X.

First Question: Could I employee a similar method to retain the content and settings from the local user accounts on the server as I migrate them to network users? Moving the user accounts to the server as described, then running terminal to set proper ownership...

Second Question: What do I do on each client system to tell it to recognize the networked home directory for each user? Do I just change the user's home folder path in Netinfo Manager to the automount location?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer,

MacPro 2.66 Quad Core (MA356LL/A)     Mac OS X Server 10.4.8
  • Leif Carlsson Level 5 Level 5
    A network account is really existing only on the server but if you use "portable homefolders" (Tiger client and server) you could "migrate" the local account to a "server" one by:

    Login locally as another user with administrative rights.

    Change the name of the old account folder in /Users.

    Remove the "old" account locally (woun't remove the "old" folder as you changed the name) only Netinfo data.

    Login using the serveraccount login/password thus creating a homefolder on the server.

    Logout and back in, enable portable homefolder.

    Logout and then in as a local admin and remove the new user folder.

    Change the name on the old userfolder to what the new one had.

    I'm not a 100% sure Netinfo has the server account UID now (added by logging in and creating the portable account?) but if it does:


    "Finding and changing UIDs across the filesystem is a one-liner command:
    sudo find / -user UID -exec chown userName {} \;
    (replace UID with the old UID number and userName with the new user name to associate file ownership.)"

    (A portable account must have got some "kind" of UID?)

    Let the machine "sync" with the server account.

    If you want an "on network only" account I don't know what you need to remove locally afterwards.

  • David L. Huxtable Level 1 Level 1
    THanks for the input. TUrns out the process I listed above works perfectly. I was able to migrate local user accounts to the network and everything works perfectly.

    A few applications that remembered exact file paths have presented warnings when opening/saving, but they are easily adjuted--examples include iPhoto and its library, Safari and its download folder, and MS Excel "recently opened" list.

    Just navigating again to the appropriate folder resolves the issue. Otherwise the user accounts work perfectly and have retained all their preferences.