How to Edit Short Name, UID, User Alias with the Server App in Lion Server - dummies

How to Edit Short Name, UID, User Alias with the Server App in Lion Server

By John Rizzo

The Server app in Lion Server includes an advanced settings dialog that can be used to edit a user’s short name, UID, user alias and other advanced options. Apple took such great pains to hide this dialog from users that you can’t get to it from any menu or button. There is only one way to get to it:

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

  2. Control-click (or right-click) a user from the Users list to bring up a contextual menu.

    You can use the gear icon to access all items in this contextual menu — except for the Advanced item, which is available only here.

  3. Select Advanced Options from the contextual menu.

    The advanced user account dialog in the Server app appears.


Apple hides this dialog because it contains items that should not be changed carelessly. They’re most safely edited when you’re first setting up your server and need to make a correction. Later changes may prevent a user from logging in or from getting access to shared folders. Here’s what you can edit in this dialog:

  • User ID (UID): The unique Unix number for an account.

  • Group: A Unix group that all users belong to, typically called staff. This name doesn’t appear in too many places. Change it at your own risk.

  • Account Name: The short name that you can’t edit in the main user window.

  • Aliases: Additional short names you can add to enable a user to log in with, using the same password. Aliases can be useful for a shared account or for administrators in some cases. This field is not all that dangerous to edit. You can type multiple aliases separated by a comma and a space.

  • Login Shell: The Unix shell that the user can work in if she has access to the command line. Typically, this is for administrators.

  • Home Directory: The same home directory setting defined in the main user editing pane, but spelled out as a path here. The path shows that this is a server-hosted home folder. Home folders on local hard drives usually are /Users/shortname.