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In previous versions of Mac OS X, you created and controlled the powers of users in the Account system preference. With Lion, this was renamed to Users & Groups, and it remained so in Mountain Lion. So, here's how it works. By default, you'll see two users. Normally, you'd see the current user, which is an administrator account, and then you see a guest user account. The guest user account is there only to allow guests accessing the Mac through a network connection to share files with this Mac.
In the first tab, which his called Password, you can change your password. You need to know your old password, then you can enter a new one verify it, and if you like, enter a password hint. If you want some help with the password, click on this key, and it can generate passwords for you. So, you can generate short passwords, or you can generate long passwords. And you see, these are a little bit memorable, but not entirely so. And you can see how strong the password is. You could choose a type of memorable, letters and numbers, numbers only, random, and FIPS-181 compliant.
I'm going to cancel that and we'll stick with the password that we have. If you need to change your Apple ID you can do so by clicking on Change. And if you want to create an Apple ID you can do that from within here. When we talk about contacts, I'll mention that you want to make sure that you have a contacts card. If you want to open it, you click here. The Contacts application opens and it shows you your contacts card. And you can tell it's yours because it says me. You'll see some other options down here that are grayed out.
So, how do we turn those black? Well, we click on the lock icon and I'll enter my password, and now I can configure those. So, we talked about changing your password. Well, let's suppose that you've forgotten your old password. You have the option to allow yourself to reset your password using your Apple ID. So, if you can't remember your initial password, just enter your Apple ID and then you'll be able to change the password. Allow user to administer this computer, when you set your Mac up initially you will be the administrator, and I'll talk about what these various kinds of accounts are in a minute.
And then enable parental controls. We're going to talk about parental controls in another movie so we'll leave this alone for now. We'll flip over to Login Items, and this tells you that these items will automatically open when you log in. So, this is a helpful way if when you first log in, you want certain applications to be opened from the get-go. To do that, just click on +, I'll go to my Applications, and I'll say that I'd like Calendar to open as soon as I launch. Click on Add, and now when I restart my Mac, calendar will open automatically.
I don't actually want that to happen so I'll select it and I'll click on the minus button to get rid of it. And then you have Login Options. You can enable or disable automatic login. If you enable it, you can choose which account will automatically be logged in when you start up your Mac. If you choose to display the login window, you can choose to show a list of users or you can simply have name and password fields. And in the login screen, by default, you'll see Sleep, Restart, and Shut Down buttons, you can turn that off if you want.
You can choose to show the Input menu in the log in window if you want, that's off by default. When you first set up an account you're offered the opportunity to enter password hints. By default, these will be shown, but you can turn that off as well. There's an option within OS X that allows you to do something called fast user switching. What this does is it puts your account name in the menu bar. When it's there, you can click on that menu. Down will come a list of all the users on that computer and you can change to a different user account by choosing that user.
Of course, you still have to log in using that user's password. And if you like, you can use VoiceOver in the login screen. We'll talk about accessibility in another movie but the gist is that if you have somebody using the computer who is vision impaired, they would use VoiceOver that would speak commands to them so that they can navigate the computer. Suppose that you'd like to add another user account. To do that, click on the + button, and down comes this sheet offering various kinds of accounts. And your choices are Administrator, Standard, Managed with Parental Controls, Sharing Only, and Group.
So, what can these users do? Well, the administrator can install applications and dig into folders that are otherwise forbidden. A standard user can't install software or muck around with the OS. Again, parental controls is something we're going to look at later, but the gist is that someone else configures the computer for their use, thus prohibiting them from doing certain things. And with the Sharing Only account, you can access shared folders but nothing else. As for Group, this is an account that you can create that contains other accounts configured with this computer.
So, let's say that John, Mary, and Jill have accounts on the computer. You can create one group account for just John and Mary, but not for Jill. John and Mary can then work within this account. And as you can see, you'd enter a full name, the Mac will create an account name for you but you can edit that, password, verify, and here's your password hint. I don't need to create a user so I'll click on cancel. Now, let's select my account and then click on the tools menu. You have the option to set a master password.
If you set a master password, this allows you to reset the password for any user on this computer. So, for example, if you have an iMac and you're using it with the entire family, you have multiple accounts set up, you have one for your teenage son and you have another one for your daughter. They can have their own accounts, but you can create a master password. So, let's say that your son has forgotten his password. You can reset the password and establish a new one. And we'll click on Cancel.
Now, if you're the one person who uses your Mac, you may think that you have no need to create additional accounts, and that's not necessarily so. I always create a troubleshooting account with administrator's privileges. If my regular account starts behaving strangely, I can then log into my troubleshooting account and try to perform the same action that gives my regular account problems. If I don't have that problem in the troubleshooting account, I know that there's some specific problem in that account, perhaps a startup item that I can disable.
It's a valuable troubleshooting technique and one I suggest you employ if you're the kind of person who likes to fix their computer problems. And that's Users & Groups in Mountain Lion.
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