Items disabled in system preferences

New Contributor III

We had a techie come to our office a while ago setup a policy where students aren't able to access certain apps in system preferences. The only problem with this is that we the admin guys aren't able to access the greyed out apps either. This is the case even if we log in as admins to the Macbooks.

Someone at the bottom of this post:

Said that they setup a script so that way when they logged in as admins, the manage preferences folder will be deleted automatically therefore it will grant them full access the system preferences.

I can actually to this manually ( delete the manage preference folder, gives me full access and once I restart the Macbook the policies gets applied and the apps in system preferences are greyed out) but I'm looking for something more automated where I login as admin and have full access to system preferences

Can someone tell me what the script should look like? Can I also run that script alongside the current policy?




Valued Contributor III

May I ask if you are running 10.6 or 10.7-10.8 on your Mac clients?

This is relevant information because in 10.6, I'm with's painful to get to those locked down prefs and I have taken to just dealing with what I need to do as an admin using the systemsetup or networksetup commands in Terminal.

As for 10.7 and 10.8, if you go to your JSS, look under Configuration Profiles for OS X v10.7 or later clients, add a profile, create a Configuration Profile. Fill in the General Payload like you would any other profile, but then look under the Login Window payload. Under the options tab of that payload, there is an option "Computer administrators may refresh or disable management". I have that checked on our 10.7 and 10.8 stations. It lets me get to any System Preference I want at will.

Consider that approach for 10.7 or 10.8, I'll offer any help I can with that. As for 10.6, if you are like us and still managing some of those, open Terminal and type 'man systemsetup' and read the man page. Same with 'man networksetup'. There are some pretty detailed things you can do in those to get to most of the things admins want to get to.

New Contributor III

Hi blackholemac,

Yeah, running 10.6.8 thank for the advice, will try those commands

Valued Contributor III you are running are we on 95% of our Macs. We have an upgrade planned this summer and managing by profiles (as opposed to MCX) is something I so much look forward to. I've already been testing all of our profiles and they handle well on 10.7 and 10.8. So well that I've already allowed the upgrade process to kick off.

On 10.6.8, since you can only use MCX, it kinda sucks because if you want to "free up" a system preference, I've found that you have to revoke set of preferences and then issue a new one allowing what you need allowed. It's very, very painful and I avoid that at all costs by using 'systemsetup' and 'networksetup' where relevant. In the rare case where those two don't have what I need, I have learned to be fairly crafty and modify plists where it has to be done.

Good luck on a future 10.8 migration and let me know if you'd like to bounce a particular problem with a specific system preference. maybe we can kludge together a script or Automator for your techs to run. I try to do Automator actions for ours where possible to give them a GUI.

New Contributor III

will do, cheers mate