Managing Macs in a Windows shop, part 3

Lauren Malhoit walks through setting up Profile Manager and Time Machine using the Mac server.

This post is going to concentrate again more on the Mac services side of things. I'll go through setting up Profile Manager and Time Machine using the Mac server to backup up the Mac clients.

Here are the previous posts in this series:

Profile Manager is almost like Group Policy Management (Workgroup Manager in the Mac world) meets mobile device management. It lets you configure policies and apply them to your Mac, but it also allows you to wipe your Mac (and other mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad) remotely should a user lose them or something. This can also serve as a self-service portal for your end users. You can find more information on Profile Manager here. Profile Manager is something you'll want to configure before the other services. I don't have a great reason for this, other than Apple support told me to do it that way because it wasn't working for me. Also, make sure that your clients, server/Profile Manager service are all on the same subnet.

To configure:

  1. Open the Server App from the dock
  2. Highlight Profile Manager and toggle the service button to ON
  3. Enable the Device Management option and either use and SSL certificate you've purchased or a self-signed certificate from the server.
  4. Click the Visit User Profile link to get the URL of the portal
  5. Open a browser on one of the Mac clients (or on the server if you would like to register the server with profile manager) and go to the URL you found in step 4 just to make sure you can get to it.
  6. Back at the server, click on the Open Profile Manager link. There are several settings you can configure in here, such as security, mobility, account creation, and encryption. Configure these appropriately for your network.
  7. Now back on your client go to the self-service portal (or the self-service portal you have opened on the server) click the Profiles Tab and click the Enroll button. Click Continue through this wizard.
  8. Finally click on the Devices tab and click on this Enroll button. Click Continue through this wizard as well. When you are finished you should see the client registered on the Profile Manager site you have open on your server.

Another nice feature Macs have is Time Machine. It becomes even nicer when used with the Mac server. Time Machine is like a System Restore of your Mac, except that it also allows you to change hardware and run it on your new machine for a seamless migration. When you involve the server, the Mac clients can be set to backup to the server and the service can be managed centrally from the server.

To configure:

  1. On the Mac server open System Preferences from the dock
  2. Open Time Machine
  3. Click Select Disk and select a disk that is not the current boot disk (this can be any large disk that you have attached to the server or Time Capsule, if you like).
  4. Highlight the disk and click Use Backup Disk
  5. This should automatically turn on Time Machine.
  6. Open the Server App from the dock.
  7. Highlight Time Machine on the left under services.
  8. Toggle the On/Off button to the On position
  9. A pop-up window shows options for disks to backup to, select the appropriate disk and click the Use for Backup Button.
  10. In the Server App click on Users in the left pane.
  11. Click the + sign to add more users and select the option to import users from another directory.
  12. Add the Mac Users in your environment and check their settings to make sure they have access to the Time Machine service. By default it appears they have access to all started services.
  13. After a few minutes, go to a Mac client machine and open System Preferences
  14. Open Time Machine
  15. When you turn the service on you should see that the backup disk from the server appears (as long as you're on the same subnet). Select that disk as your backup disk.
  16. From this point the clients should automatically backup to your Mac server.

In the next couple of posts I will talk about some more services such as Software Updates and Printing. Then finally I will discuss setting up the Mac clients so that it all plays well together. If anyone has any comments to share on their setups, or questions for me, please feel free to note them in the comment section.


Lauren Malhoit has been in the IT field for over 10 years and has acquired several data center certifications. She's currently a Technology Evangelist for Cisco focusing on ACI and Nexus 9000. She has been writing for a few years for TechRepublic, Te...


I have an MCSE and my primary home computer is a Mac. IMHO it simply works better. I've worked in a multi-platform environment for more than 20 years. Macs normally generate far less heartburn than Windows machines, particularly for professionals, researchers and scientists. If Windows 8 lays an egg you may have lots of Macs on your hands. I have a small crew of college interns and they are having fits trying to figure out the preview edition.


Why, you ask? here's a good reason: the new president of a client company has a Mac. He always had a Mac, he loved his Mac and will not switch more that you will switch from your beloved PC. Am I going to say, man forget about your Mac we are a Windows shop here? I don't think so if I want to keep this job. What will I do? I will learn how to integrate his Mac to the system. By the way I suggest you start to learn this too, unless you are close to retirement. Mac are omni-present now, that you want it or not.


Honestly I would agree with you. However, I'm told there are some developers that would disagree with us. Apparently there are some development platforms that just work better on Macs. Also, UI designers prefer to work on Macs. I can respect that. So, that's basically the "why" of it for us.


The question is not so much how - but why? What does a Mac give you in a windows environment that is worth the substantial additional outlay? I'm sure that Macs are more maleable now they run UNIX than in the days of the real MacOS (when they were horrid to manage) but other than fashion, how many people actually need a Mac?

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