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Take Control of Users & Accounts in Snow Leopard
Oct 21, 2009

Take Control of Users & Accounts in Snow Leopard

Learn to manage user accounts and parental controls in Snow Leopard!

Mac expert Kirk McElhearn walks you through everything you need to know to understand and manage accounts on your Mac, even if the only person using the Mac is you. You’ll learn how to create the right types of accounts for the different people who use your Mac, why it’s often a good idea to set up at least two accounts, and how you can take advantage of the parental controls options. Kirk shows you how to set up a troubleshooting account, use Fast User Switching, share files among users, manage login and startup items, and more. Kirk also reveals tricks for sharing music and photos among multiple users on your Mac using iTunes and iPhoto.

More Info

Coupon savings! Snow Leopard’s parental controls can limit the content that a Mac user sees, but for still more control, a coupon in the ebook saves you 25% on Intego’s ContentBarrier X5 (normally $49.95, so you save about $12).

You’ll find the answers to these questions and more:

  • Why do I have I log in to my Macintosh?
  • Why do my files reside in the Users folder?
  • What is the purpose of an Administrator account?
  • How can I take advantage of the Guest account?
  • How do I limit time of day when my child can use the Mac?
  • Can I control who my child exchanges email with?
  • What’s the best way for users on my Mac to share files?
  • How can I customize the way my login window behaves?
  • How can I speed up the log in and log out process for everyone?
  • Can users on my Mac share my iTunes songs or iPhoto images?
  • What’s the difference between a login item and a startup item?
What's New

What’s New in This Edition

In terms of Mac OS X, there is little difference between this ebook and its predecessor, Take Control of Users & Accounts in Leopard, though I looked over the book carefully, checking for differences and retaking the screenshots so they would look just right for Snow Leopard. Further, Tonya Engst, my editor, read the entire manuscript to give it one more proofreading pass and to add a few current details, such as a brief mention of Apple’s new iDisk app.

The differences between this edition and the Tiger edition are large; see What’s New in Leopard and Snow Leopard for details.

The discussions near the end of the ebook about how to Share an iTunes Library and how to Share an iPhoto Library are revised to cover new library-sharing options in iTunes 9 and iPhoto ’09.

Update Plans

June 2011 – We love this ebook, but we do not plan to update it for Lion. We are going to take a break and focus on different topics, and perhaps revisit this decision when the next big cat OS X release comes down the pipe.

Posted by Adam Engst

  1. Snow Leopard Data Loss Bug

    Apple has publicly acknowledged a rare but nasty data-destroying bug related to using the Guest account in Snow Leopard. The bug appears to be associated with having a Guest account already set up before you upgrade to Snow Leopard. While there is currently no fix available, we hope to see one in 10.6.2. To learn more, check out my TidBITS article, Apple Acknowledges Guest Account Data Loss Bug. [This bug was fixed in 10.6.2.]

    Posted by Doug McLean (Permalink)

  2. TweetMyMac

    Now that you’ve wrapped your mind around accounts on your Mac, wrap your mind around this: you can now send a Twitter message to a particular account on your Mac and tell your Mac to do things such as restart or send you a screenshot. Sounds crazy? It could be. Glenn Fleishman writes about the new TweetMyMac in a recent TidBITS article, TweetMyMac Offers Remote Control by Twitter.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  3. New Ebooks Explain Snow Leopard User Accounts and File Sharing

    If you have Snow Leopard-related questions about accounts, the Take Control series now has the answers in the form of “Take Control of Users & Accounts in Snow Leopard,” by Kirk McElhearn, and “Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard,” by Glenn Fleishman.

    Take Control of Users & Accounts in Snow Leopard – Read this ebook to learn how to manage all the accounts on your Mac like a pro, even if you are the only person who regularly logs in. You’ll learn how to create the right types of accounts for the different people who use your Mac, why you likely need at least two accounts, and what you can do with the many options in the parental controls. Kirk shows you how to set up a troubleshooting account to solve problems, use Fast User Switching, share files between users, manage login and startup items, and more. Kirk even reveals tricks for sharing music and photos among multiple users on your Mac using iTunes and iPhoto. For those who want still more parental control options than those offered in Snow Leopard, the last page of the ebook includes a coupon worth 25% off on Intego’s ContentBarrier X5. 102 pages, $10.

    Take Control of Sharing Files in Snow Leopard – Read along with Glenn as he takes you on a tour of all the nitty-gritty details you need to know to configure file sharing to be fast, effective, and secure. You’ll learn how to select and configure the right hardware and software for your needs and budget, consider the pros and cons of different file sharing options, find set-up steps for each of the core Mac OS X file-sharing services - AFP, SMB, and FTP (with tips to help you avoid problems and security risks), get the details on setting up accounts, and learn how to log in to Mac file servers from a variety of major operating systems. The ebook specifically discusses the new Snow Leopard Wake on Demand feature and the quirky Snow Leopard firewall, as well as how to share files from iPhoto ‘09 and iTunes 9. 109 pages, $10.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  4. Kirk Talks about How User Accounts are Under-Appreciated but Powerful

    Listen to MacVoices #9109 and learn about author Kirk McElhearn’s approach to user accounts. In this interview, which kicks off the release of the Snow Leopard edition of Take Control of Users & Accounts, Kirk talks about many facets of using accounts effectively, including—among many topics discussed—troubleshooting and limiting what certain users can do on your Mac.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  5. Home Sharing vs. iTunes Sharing

    Home Sharing, a new feature in iTunes 9, makes it possible to easily sync purchased iTunes Store media among family members (or any group where everyone is authorized on the same iTunes Store account). While the feature is a clear win for sharing around iPhone apps, several Take Control authors have been perplexed by Home Sharing, either because the feature didn’t perform as they’d expected, or because it’s very difficult to concisely explain the differences between it and the old iTunes Sharing feature. Thankfully, Take Control author Ted Landau’s recent Mac Observer article tackles the subject with detail. If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how to share media in iTunes, check it out!

    Posted by Doug McLean (Permalink)

The Author

Kirk McElhearn is a freelance writer specializing in Macs, iPods, iTunes, digital music, and more. In addition to having written or co-written a dozen books, he is a Senior Contributor to Macworld magazine and he contributes to several other publications. He reviews classical CDs for MusicWeb and audiobooks for Audiofile, and he is a translator from French to English.