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I'm setting up a computer lab in a private school. All the students have LDAP login credentials and they stored all their files on separate shared servers. After the student logs out, I would like the workstation to "reset". That includes:

  • User generated files
  • Downloaded files
  • Modified settings (background, icon placement, etc)
  • Browser history

Pretty much, reset it completely.

I have a Windows LDAP server and Mac OS X Server. Is there a built-in feature to do this?

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I don't believe that is possible with OSX unless you come up with a creative script. I tried it at my last job but could not get it to work. In Windows you can do it through group policy but on OSX there is no such thing.

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Mac OS X (10.5 and newer) has a feature to enable a guest account. The guest account has no password, is created afresh on each login, and is deleted on each logout. Users can, of course, connect to their file shares and access their documents. [It is a very poor scenario for working on multimedia projects, but it doesn't sound like you are trying to do that.]

Here's a guide for turning a guest account on on a single computer. If you have a preference management system in place (using, say, configuration profiles, or workgroup manager + open directory), you can manage the setting for all the computers in your lab. Some of Apple's articles for educational institutions may prove useful in this regard; "Tips and Tricks" covers the now-deprecated Workgroup Manager, and the remaining titles will point you in the right direction if you are using configuration profiles or active directory.

If that is inadequate, it is also possible to use a login or logout hook to run a script to copy (or rsync) a template folder for users to use (and I can provide more details if you'd like).

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Thanks for the information. Guest account would achieve 90% of the issue. I'll looked into the login/logout scripts. – user702397 Jul 11 '13 at 13:31
@user702397, this link might point you in the right direction:… . Note that I've taken to using rsync instead of ditto, as it is much faster. – Clinton Blackmore Jul 11 '13 at 21:31

It's not cheap but what about a product such as Faronics Deep Freeze?

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