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Prevent user access to certain system prefs System
While setting up a new hard drive's permissions after adding it to my QS G4, I figured out a neat trick. I hadn't been able to figure out a way to block a guest user from changing the Display Preferences (in the System Preferences).

Most of the other prefs have a lock on them (Login, Users, Network, etc). Displays does not. I found out, by using BatChmod, that if you change the permission of a Prefs Pane (in System/Library/Preference Panes/) to you as the owner and restrict all access to any other user, it eliminates the pref from the System Preferences app when a guest/other user opens it (gone!).

It's back when you log back in to your admin account. Another way is to store the prefs you don't want a guest to have access to in your ~/Library/Preference Panes folder and then take it out of the system folder (after modifying permissions). Not recommended for some prefs panes, though, for obvious reasons.

Anyway, now I can safeguard someone from changing the monitor settings and avoid the "out of scan range" death trap that happens on my GeForce 2MX card. It still does not reset back to the original resolution when a 'bad' resolution is selected, but this workaround keeps it safe until Apple fixes it. Way cool!

[Editor's caution: Although I agree this is a useful and neat trick, you could be causing unseen future problems if certain system preference panes are not where they would be expected to be during a system update. If you use this trick, I strongly advise that you return things to the default setup prior to installing any system updates. I have no direct evidence that this could cause problems during an update, but it seems the potential is there...]
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Another use...
Authored by: lugal on Mar 28, '02 08:59:01PM

Coincidentally, I was monkeying around today trying to set up a machine for guest access, and came up with a similar solution to a similar problem. The problem that I was having was trying to disallow the guest account from changing its own password, and the solution was to simply chmod the UserPrefs.prefPane bundle to 750. This stopped the "Users" pane from showing up in the system prefs when logged in under the guest account, but still allowed normal access to that pane when logged in as a regular user. This will probably be very handy in the school where I work.



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Another use...
Authored by: Living Memory on Mar 29, '02 05:28:25PM

As the Editor's caution noted this is extremely dangerous if you are not entirely certain of what you are doing. Changing the permissions on the root disk can even cause login to fail and render you totally screwed.
Even a seemingly harmless action such as changing the permissions of the Utilities folder in the Applications folder can cause some applications to fail to be able to authenticate the user.



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