How to Create Users in File Share in OS X Mavericks

In OS X Mavericks, before users can share folders and drives (or have their own accounts on your computer, for that matter), they must have an account on your Mac. You can create two different kinds of accounts for them — a User Account or a Sharing Only Account.

  • When you create a User Account for a person, the account has its own Home folder, which is filled with User 1’s files. Nobody but User 1 can access files in this Home folder unless, of course, User 1 has provided someone the account name and password.

  • When you create a Sharing Only Account for a person, the person using that account doesn’t have a Home folder and can’t access other users’ Home folders. Sharing 1 can access only the Public folders inside all the Home folders on that Mac.

You can create a new User Account only in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane. You can create a new Sharing Account in either the Users & Groups or Sharing System Preferences panes.

When you click the + button under the Users list in the Sharing System Preferences pane and choose a contact in your Contacts (as opposed to choosing an existing user account), you create a Sharing Account for that person.

Anyone can remotely access files or folders in your Public folder(s) over a LAN (local area network) or the Internet. But if you want them to be able to access folders or files other than those in the Public folder(s) on your Mac, they need either a User Account or a Sharing Account.

When you add (create) a user, you need to tell your Mac who this person is. This is also the time to set passwords and administrative powers for this new user. Here’s the drill:

  1. Choose app→System Preferences (or click the System Preferences icon in the Dock), click the Users & Groups icon, and then make sure that the Password tab is selected.

    The Users & Groups System Preferences pane appears. In this pane, you can see the name of the first user (Bob Levitus) and the administrative control that this user is allowed. (Note that the Allow User to Administer This Computer check box is selected.)

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    The first user created (usually at the same time you installed OS X) always has administrator permissions.

  2. Click the + button beneath the list of users.

    A sheet appears in which you enter the new user’s information.

    If the + button is dimmed, here’s how you get it functioning: First click the lock (at bottom left), supply an administrator name and password in the resulting dialog, and then click OK.

  3. Choose Standard from the New Account menu.

  4. In the Name text box, type the full name of a user you want to add.

    In the Account Name text box, your Mac inserts a suggested abbreviated name (formerly known as the short name).

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    For example, you can add Steve Wozniak as a user, typing his full name in the Full Name field. You don’t really need to type the user’s full name.

  5. Press the Tab key to move to the next field.

    OS X suggests an abbreviated version of the name in the Account Name field.

    The name of each user’s folder (in the Users folder) is taken from the short name that you enter when you create a user.

    Users can connect to your Mac (or log in from their own Macs, for that matter) by using the short name, rather than having to type their full names. The short name is also used in environments in which usernames can’t have spaces and are limited to eight or fewer characters.

    Although OS X Mavericks allows longer usernames (but no spaces), you might be better off keeping your short name shorter than eight characters, just in case.

  6. Tab to the Password field and enter an initial password for this user.

    The small, square button with the key to the right of the Password field, when clicked, displays the Password Assistant. You can use the Password Assistant, to help generate a password that should be fairly easy for the user to remember (choose Memorable from the Password Assistant’s Type pop-up menu) but hard for a cracking program to guess (or meet other requirements).

    To make your password even harder to guess or crack, choose Random or FIPS-181-compliant from the Password Assistant’s Type pop-up menu. It will also make it harder for you to remember, so make sure you either memorize it or store it in a safe place.

  7. Press the Tab key to move your cursor to the Verify text field.

  8. In the Verify text box, type the password again to verify it.

  9. (Optional) To help remember a password, type something in the Password Hint text box to jog the user’s memory.

  10. Click the Create Account button to create the account.

    The sheet disappears, and the new user now appears in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane’s Users list.

  11. (Optional) Click the account picture above the Full Name field, and choose a different one.

    OS X suggests a picture from its default collection for each account, but you can select a different one from the pop-up mini-window, drag one in from the Finder (or iPhoto), or take a photo with an attached or built-in camera (such as an iSight) by clicking the Edit button (shown in the margin).

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  12. (Optional) Click the Set button next to Apple ID to enter (or create) the user’s Apple ID.

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