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Use desktop images to identify current user Desktop
I have a 'day-to-day' user I use for most of my time in Mac OS X. It does *not* have Admin privileges, as I don't worry about making stupid mistakes that could render my Mac inoperable (or be exploited!). To install apps like iLife or Macromedia Studio MX 2004, I log into my Admin user and do my business. Then I get out, so I can go on with my day and surf to

My Admin user has a basic, flat gray background image, while my other Users have more colorful pictures and the like. This helps me know in an instant when I'm in Admin mode (and should be more careful), and when I'm not. This might also be useful for great hints like Cue the next song while DJing with iTunes, to help identify when you're logged in as the primary or secondary User.

[robg adds: I do this with the users I have created for use with fast user switching. It's especially important as I've disabled the FUS menu, so the desktop picture is really my only visual cue as to who I'm currently logged in as.]
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Use desktop images to identify current user
Authored by: jmao on Jun 10, '04 11:44:40AM

We also do this on our many servers,...edit the Aqua Blue.jpg file, etc so that when we sit at the keyboard and monitor with the KVM, we quickly know which of the many servers we are looking at,...

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Use desktop images to identify current user
Authored by: gshenaut on Jun 10, '04 06:38:15PM

I think changing screen backgrounds is a fine way to identify what mode you're in, or what user you currently are, but I don't quite grok the logic behind having a separate admin user. I'm thoroughly aware of the problems with running as root or superuser, but what are the possible pitfalls of working as an admin user?

All admin privilege means is that you have the right to go through an authentication procedure to do certain things in the system. Without admin privileges, you can still do plenty of harm--for example, you can easily delete all of your own files even without it.

It is true that as an admin user, you can write group-writable files which have gid=80, and there are indeed many such files. Is that the main pitfall you had in mind???

Greg Shenaut

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Use desktop images to identify current user
Authored by: victory on Aug 09, '06 12:39:48PM

Yes, even seemingly obvious tips can often go far toward making an admin's life easier. I often use a variant of this tip to identify superuser accounts on Mac and (gasp) Windows boxes I have to administer. Since it's generally a bad idea on any platform to log in under the root/administrator/superuser account (except in limited instances), I've created a series of custom desktop images specifically for these accounts. Basically the background images contain the text (often in huge, garish letters) "YOU ARE CURRENTLY LOGGED IN UNDER THE ROOT ACCOUNT. THIS IS GENERALLY A BAD IDEA. DON'T DO IT", etc.etc. Not only does it keep you aware that you're logged in under a dangerous account and should limit your activities, but it's also a good reminder to log out immediately after you're done.

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