I am moving over to an open directory setup with users able to create mobile profiles to allow for syncing of their home directory on their own machines and the server. However, since we have been without that, and the majority of users are bringing their own devices, (BYOD), a lot of their names are matching up exactly with the usernames setup on the servers and on their personal machines.

Is there a better way to deal with this, or should I just rename the usernames as {name_companyname}?


Instead of name_companyname you may want to just use {firstInitialLastName}

So yours would be mwallace.

There's not really any other way for them to use a mobile account on their personal. Unless you want to convert their personal local account to a mobile account. I can send you instructions on that if you'd like.

Converting a local user account to a mobile account

I'm going to describe what you will do first and then give you the exact commands.

Please test this prior to doing this to one of your user's it's been about 5 years since I had to do this. If the user already has data in their server account: DO NOT USE THIS METHOD.

If the user you are converting is an admin user you will need another admin user on the computer. You cannot do this using the account you are converting.

This is the same as deleting the user and leaving the home folder through System Preferences except it doesn't change the folder at all.

  1. Change directory to the user datastore located at /private/var/db/dslocal/Default/users

  2. Delete the user's plist.

  3. If the new user account name is different from the previous name:

  4. Change directory to /Users/ Rename the folder. (mv)

  5. Exit.


  6. Logout of the admin account you're using.

  7. Login using the user's credentials on the server. It will ask you if you want to use the current home folder on the local drive.

  8. Click yes. It will then sync the home folder on the local machine up to the server.

The following must be done as the root user using command line. Please be extremely careful when using the command line as the root user:

sudo su
(type in password)
cd /private/var/db/dslocal/Default/users
rm {username}.plist
-- optional
cd /Users/
mv {oldusername} {newusername}
-- end optional

This also works for converting from mobile to standard.

| improve this answer | |
  • I don't know why I didn't just think of that first. Could I get the instructions on local-> mobile account? – Mark Wallace Jul 1 '13 at 17:00
  • Updated post with instructions. – Phillip Boushy Jul 1 '13 at 18:02

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