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I have a mac running snow leopard and I would like to create an external account (i.e. one which resides on a usb drive and shows up on the login screen when the usb drive is inserted ) . I tried using /System/Library/CoreServices/ but to no avail . My machine is not connected to os x server . Do you have any suggestions ?

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I would create a normal account then move the home folder to the usb stick and change the home path.

To change the home path, go to System Preferences -> Accounts -> (if the locker bottom left is close, click on it then enter your password) -> right click on the freshly created remote account -> Advanced options … -> Click on the button to choose the new home folder on the USB key.

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