How to Create New User Accounts with the Server App in Lion Server

By John Rizzo

To create and manage user accounts in the Server app in Lion Server, click Users in the sidebar to the left. For group accounts, click Groups. A new window appears, which includes some user accounts already created.

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Whether you’re using accounts stored locally on the Mac or on a shared network directory, the procedure for creating new accounts is the same. However, you do want to make sure you know what you have. If you create a bunch of local accounts when what you really wanted were Open Directory accounts, you’ll have to create all the accounts again.

If you’re not sure what you have, take a look at the user account icons. If you add a user and it has a globe in its icon, it’s a shared network directory, an Open Directory domain. The first account is a local administrator account and has no globe. If you add further accounts and they don’t have globes, then you haven’t yet set up an Open Directory master. If you want to set up an Open Directory master, do it now.

When you’re ready to add a user account, do the following:

  1. In the Server app, click Users in the sidebar.

  2. Click the Add (+) button in the lower-left corner of the user list.

  3. Enter the new user’s name.

    A short name is generated automatically, but you can edit it. Short names don’t contain spaces, although they can contain punctuation, including periods, underscores, and hyphens. They’re usually lowercase.

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  4. Type an e-mail address with your own server’s domain, or another.

    If you have Mail Server running while you’re creating new user accounts, the Server app automatically creates an e-mail address for the account and enter it for you in this dialog. This is a good reason to set up your e-mail service first if you’re going to create a lot of accounts.

  5. Enter a password.

    You can click the key icon next to the Password field to open the Password Assistant, which generates random passwords and tests password strength.

  6. (Optional) Select the Allow User to Administer This Server check box if you want to grant the user full administrative privileges to control services, modify accounts, change passwords, and install software on the server.

    If you don’t want to give someone full admin rights, you can create limited administrators with Workgroup Manager.

  7. (Optional) Change the icon for a user.

    If you want, you can change the icon by clicking the user icon and selecting Edit Picture. You can import a photo, take one with the Mac’s camera, or use another icon.

  8. Click the Done button.

To delete a user, just click the user in the Users list on the left and then click the Delete (–) button. The Server app asks you to confirm the action. To delete multiple users at the same time, hold the cmd key while clicking usernames.

Unlike in Mac OS X’s System Preferences, deleting a user account in the Server app doesn’t delete the user’s home folder or any files the user created on the server.