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To create a new user

Go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences….”

In the System Preferences pane, single-click on “Accounts.” You'll get the dialog box shown below, except it probably has only one user listed, you. This one user is also the Admin.

You will probably have to click the lock icon in the bottom-left corner. In the dialog box that appears after you click the lock, enter the Admin password (the one you chose when you set up your Mac), then click the OK button. The lock in the bottom-left corner should now be open, as shown below.

To add a new user, click the “plus” button. This makes a sheet drop down (as shown below) where you will add new user information.

Type the full name (or any descriptive phrase) in the “Name” edit box. A short name is automatically created for you, but you can edit it. You will never be able to change the short name after you leave this pane! The only way to “change” it is to delete the entire user and make a new one.

The short name should be short, you can't use spaces, and you should avoid non-alphabet characters (like * ! ? or /).

Mac OS X can use either the short name or long name. But the short name is necessary if you ever use FTP, Telnet, or other applications that let you log in to your Mac from some other location.

Enter a password for the user. Write this down somewhere. As you've probably seen before, you need to type in the password twice to make sure you've spelled it right, since you can't see it. If you like, click on that tiny key icon to get some suggestions for passwords that are very secure.

Passwords are “case sensitive.” That means capital or lowercase letters change the password: “ChoCo” is not the same password as “choco.” So be darn sure when you write down your password somewhere that you make note of any capital letters.

It is possible to leave the password blank, but that makes that user's Home easier to get into. If privacy is an issue, be sure to assign a password.

You can, if you like, enter a password hint. On login, if a user enters the wrong password three times, a message appears with this hint (see pages 242243 to make sure the box is checked to make the hint appear).


If you have a very young user or two, you can set them up as users with no passwords so all they have to do is click on their pictures to log in. Or make the password something like “xxx” so it's really easy for them.

To choose a login picture, single-click the “Picture” tab, circled below.

Then choose one of the following steps to add the picture:

  • Single-click one of the “Apple Pictures” in the scrolling panel on the right.

  • Or drag a photo or other image from a Finder window and drop it into the little picture “well” to the left of the “Edit…” button (where you see the gingerbread man on the opposite page). This will open the Images pane, as shown below.

  • Or click the “Edit…” button to open the Images pane, shown below. Drag a photo or other image from a Finder window and drop it into the picture well in the Images pane, as shown below.

    In the Images pane, shown above:

  • To choose from photos you may have added recently in Address Book or iChat, click the “Recent Pictures” pop-up menu.

  • To select an image from any location on your computer, click the “Choose…” button.

  • If you have a video camera attached to your computer or if someone is sending video to you, click the video button, circled above. A beeping sound and a five-second delay precede the video camera snapshot.

Click the “Set” button when you're done and continue to the next step.

In the Accounts window, single-click Login Options to assign a user the ability to automatically log in, as explained below. This pane is available only to Administrators (that is, standard and managed users will not be able to change anything on this pane).

I just set up several new users, but my Mac will automatically start up with “Robin Williams,” meaning I do not have to go through the login screen and enter a password whenever the Mac starts or restarts. This is good for me.



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