Mac OS X Tips and TricksEdit
Something going wrong with your Mac? Have you tried zapping PRAM, booting in safe mode or resetting the power manager? Before calling Apple, try these keyboard combinations. They can solve many a perplexing Mac problem. Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts
Keep a clean Admin user account on your Mac. If your Mac is experiencing symptoms that seem to be hardware related, log in to this extra, unused account. If the symptoms are not present, then the problem is more likely caused by software in the default login account. While it may be tempting to name this account "admin", it is better to use a less easily guessed name, especially if you use remote access to administer the computers. Putting your school initials in front of admin (e.g. "hmadmin") is an easy way to do this. When setting up a new Mac that will be the source image for a larger deployment of laptops or lab machines, create this extra account. It will be available for you on every Mac cloned from that image.
Imaging and Cloning MacsEdit
An excellent reference site with all the necessary tools: Mike Bombich's Mac OS X Management Software and Tips
Most of this is common knowledge - but just in case someone is new to imaging, or wants a few tips, here goes!
Before imaging your Macs, you should prep a 'kit':
- FireWire bus-powered hard drive (we use LaCie PocketDrives, 60GB)
- Carbon Copy Cloner & NetRestore from Mike Bombich
- DiskWarrior (from Alsoft)
In the interest of efficiency and keeping your sanity, lock yourself in a room with the above items, and also:
- One of each type of Mac that you would like to create an image for
- The specific OS X reinstall CDs that came with those Macs, or a generic OS X install disc
- Any add'l software that the Macs need installed
- You may want to think about setting up some scripts that restore the user account between reboots, like Deep Freeze on the PC does. See this page on Mike Bombich's site for the scripts.
- First, install fresh copies of OS X on your Macs. Make sure to run Software Update at this point so that you don't have to do it later.
- Create your user accounts. If you'd like to have both a student account and a fac/staff account on a single machine, you should install fac/staff applications into an Applications folder within the user's Home directory, so the student account cannot access them.
- Install any additional software.
Now before we image, let's get our kit ready:
- Format your FireWire drive into two partitions - one smaller and one larger. On a 60GB drive, this may be 10GB and 50GB. The smaller one will be our boot partition, and the other will be storage.
- Install the latest version of OS X that your Macs support onto the boot partition, and run Software Update (specifically for the Mac OS X Updates)
- Install copies of Carbon Copy Cloner (referred to as CCC), NetRestore, and DiskWarrior onto the boot partition. Throw these apps and Apple's Disk Utility into the Dock for easy access.
- Open up CCC and NetRestore, and check out the Preferences.
Some notable ones you'll want to fiddle with in CCC are:
- Create a disk image on target (so we create a .dmg file instead of cloning the drive)
- Make bootable (should be on by default once you select the above option)
- Prepare for Apple Software Restore
And in NetRestore:
- set default target options: Erase Target Disk, Verify, Restart when finished, set target as boot disk
Let's get imagin'!
- Start up one of your Macs that you've set up off of the FireWire boot drive. (hold down Option and hit the power button - then choose the FireWire boot partition from the onscreen menu)
- Open up CCC, choose the Mac's drive as the source, and the other larger partition on your FireWire drive as the destination.
- Let 'er rip! When finished, rename the resulting .dmg file with a good descriptive name.
- Repeat for each type of Mac - or if you're feeling adventurous (or lazy) you should be able to use a single image for a variety of Macs. (You may run into problem at some point - such as trying to install an image with standard trackpad drivers onto an iBook with one of those new-fangled scrolling trackpads.)
Now that we have an image, we can throw it onto say, a lab full of Macs:
- Start up each Mac off of the FireWire boot drive.
- Open up NetRestore, and choose the proper image file as the source, and the Mac's drive as the detination. Luckily you've already set up the preferences (right?) so just hit Restore. (you can speed up this process using NetRestore's Configurations menu option to setup a pop-up menu with a list of all your images)
- A 10GB restore takes about 7-10 minutes depending on hardware. Make your life (or your minion's lives) easier by getting a few FireWire drives, and CCC-ing your original FireWire imaging drive, so that you can do a few Macs at a time.
Hope that was helpful!
--* justin d 15:23, 13 Dec 2005 (UTC)