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HalfMoth42 Jun 10, 2000 02:57 AM
Multiple Users' Desktops
I'm perplexed... We recently got a G4 at work (saving me from all-NT, but taunting me with a Cinema Display! Sweet Zombie Jeezus, what an amazing monitor. For that price, it'd better be!). I've been massaging the machine into the environment. Set up Multiple Users, and was expecting each User to be able to customize their Desktop Picture [DP]. The Prefs are supposed to remain separate, there in that mini-System Folder in the User's folder, right? There's even a folder just for their own DPs.

When they log out and log back in, tho, the DP has reverted back to the image chosen by the Owner for THEIR background. (I'm the Owner/Admin and could always leave my DP sorta neutral or generic, but where's the fun in that?)

I tried putting unique images in that User-specific DP folder and setting 'em up, but they always revert upon re-Login. What am I overlooking? I haven't read ANYwhere in any book or forum about an OS bug that prevents custom DPs under Multiple Users...

--brian f

--[ pleasant taste; some monsterism ]--
tonymac Jun 10, 2000 04:14 AM
I seem to recall hearing about this as a problem. I haven't really used multiple users, so I haven't experienced the problem myself. However, I think the problem can be fixed using AppleScript. You would need two scripts, one to save the current DP at shutdown (or logout) and one to replace it at startup. Put the shutdown script in the shutdown items folder and the startup script in the startup items folder. If you need help figuring out the script email me--I can probably put something together for you to test.
Cipher13 Jun 10, 2000 04:56 AM
I put multi users on whenever I'm going to be away from the computer for more than a day, and I haven't had any problems with desktop pictures etc. - just make sure a copy of the pic is available to the user (ie. in their user folder) and that you set it up while in that users account.
I have heard of similar probs with screen resolution, which I also had - resetting the prefs and restarting fixed that though.

tonymac Jun 10, 2000 04:59 AM
FYI I just wrote the two scripts required to saving and restoring the desktop pic. Let me know if you need them.
Paul Crawford Jun 10, 2000 02:04 PM
Hi all,

Actually, there have been quite a few posts about Appearance-related problems with the Multiple Users feature, here in the MacNN Forums, and over in the MacFixIt Forums, Apple's own Mac OS Discussion Forum & Mac OS Archive Discussion Forum, etc. For example, see the old Multiple user problems thread in this Forum; it has pointers to some interesting old threads over in the MacFixIt Forums, as well as other general tips (a couple of my own posts which may no longer be quite accurate or up-to-date).

Since that time, some folks have found generally improved behavior with Apple's recent Macintosh Manager releases, which also update the Multiple Users software (e.g., the 'Multi-User Startup' extension, 'Login' app and 'Panels' app). However, even the latest Macintosh Manager 1.3 update has issues; in fact, for some people (including myself), it introduces more problems with lost desktop settings than before, especially for Limited/Panels accounts. Still, since the update does fix other MM/MU bugs, if you don't already have it you may want to install it anyway.

One more thing:- tonymac, the AppleScript-based workaround is an excellent idea. There's a slight snag in that it's difficult to run an applet at logout time (there's no 'Logout Items' subfolder, and the 'Shutdown Items' subfolder items seem to run only at shutdown, not logout). One way to approximate a logout trigger might be to make a "Stay Open" applet with an explicit 'on quit' handler (all visible/non-BOA apps are quit on Logout). In any case, as a last resort, an applet in the 'Startup Items' subfolder (which runs at Login time) could also be manually modified to reset a specific desktop picture.

Good luck,

HalfMoth42 Jun 10, 2000 04:55 PM
See? I knew I should post a question here. One more positive use for the 'Net.

I swear I did a search on this Forum for "desktop picture" but nothing useful showed. Thanx for the heads-up Paul Crawford, and for all the links, too.

I'll give all you guys' suggestions a try when I return to work tomorrow night (and I'm keeping your scripting options in mind, tonymac, thanx). In the meantime, I'll turn on MU here at home and test 'em.

--brian f

--[ pleasant taste; some monsterism ]--
tonymac Jun 10, 2000 11:53 PM
That's interesting. I personally haven't been using Multiple Users, but I had assumed that Log out was handled as a system shutdown. My hope with the scripts was that by triggering one at shutdown, it would allow the user to change his/her desktop picture and have the changes be persistent between logins. I think you're right about using a stay open script with an "on quit" handler to set the current desktop pic. It should be easy to modify my script for this if necessary. I'll be posting these two scripts to after I tweak them a little more if anyone would like to take a look at them.
Paul Crawford Jun 19, 2000 10:44 PM
Hi again,

Just FYI, I recently came across a $10 shareware extension, Multiple Users Actions, which allows an AppleScript applet to easily "hook" into any of the four standard MU events ("pre-login", login, logout and "post-logout"). Of course, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of installing yet another extension, so this approach might not suit all tastes.



[This message has been edited by Paul Crawford (edited 06-19-2000).]
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