A normal task for any IT department is managing and supporting user accounts. While this varies by OS, calls to IT from users requesting help desk support have been known to go as high as 40% (or 5% if you're using a Mac at IBM).
I'm sure your IT department has far more pressing matters than user account management, so why not streamline the process whenever possible? With CreateUserPkg, you can create local user accounts on OS X. (Note: The app cannot be used to create directory-based accounts.)
- Apple computer running OS X 10.5+ (at least 10.7 highly recommended for security purposes)
- CreateUserPkg app from GitHub
Creating an account package
1. Copy the extracted app to the Applications folder and launch it (Figure A).
2. Enter the relevant information in the text fields (Full Name, Account Name, Password, Verify, etc.) for the account you are creating (Figure B).
3. The User ID, UUID, and Home directory fields will be automatically populated each time the app is launched. When creating multiple accounts, it is imperative that the User ID and UUID remain unique to other accounts, as this will cause issues with OS X down the line.
4. Select whether the account being created will be a Standard or Administrator account, as the necessary permissions will be configured as well during the package creation process.
5. Modify the Package ID string. This will help OS X identify the package and should be unique as well. While one is populated for you based on the account name, it could always be modified to better reflect exactly what the package payload contains (Figure C).
6. The version number is set to 1.0 by default, though it can be changed to reflect any variation or update to a previously created account. Additionally, an image may be associated with the user account (e.g., a photo of the user) that will be linked to the user account.
7. Click the Save button to enter a name and select the location where you want to save the file. Click the Save button again to create the package (Figure D).
Now you can deploy the account package to your target computer(s). Since the package is standards-based, it is compatible with all workflows that support installer packages, including but not limited to AutoDMG, DeployStudio, and Apple Remote Desktop.
Limitations vs. advantages
This app has limited use for environments running directory services, such as Open Directory or Active Directory. However, it is nice to be able to use a package to quickly and virtually deploy a new local user account to a Mac, particularly when managing a SOHO or a SMB that may not have the resources to run a server or directory service but still require end-user support to onsite or offsite personnel.
- OS X El Capitan: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- How to repackage OS X apps with Packages (TechRepublic)
- How to create and use Task Workflows in DeployStudio (TechRepublic)
- Pro tip: Deploy thin images on a Mac with AutoDMG (TechRepublic)
Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from several vendors, including Apple and CompTIA.