: I bought a mac because it's pretty ;)


danaekitty
Feb 19th, 2008, 10:31 AM
I'm posting this for my sister, who doesn't have an ehmac profile, and is utterly clueless about what her new macbook can do for her.

1) Is there a way to password protect Mail so that as soon as she opens it she is prompted to enter a password? She currently has her gmail being sent to Mail and doesn't want her bf to have access to her emails so easily. She is the admin and therefore can't put parental controls on it, which would obviously be the easiest way.

2) She currently has Safari selected as her default web browser. She's got Firefox as well , and always uses it first, but she says after awhile, Firefox stops working for her and freezes up, at which point she gets frustrated and switches back over to Safari. I'm wondering if Firefox is malfuntioning because it's not her default?

Please don't judge my poor sister. Although it is true that she bought her macbook because it's pretty, she is a very smart girl and would like to learn! I showed her the Apple resources, ehmac, and taught her some important key commands ("why can't I right-click?"). As they say, you can lead a horse to water...

rgray
Feb 19th, 2008, 10:51 AM
1) Is there a way to password protect Mail so that as soon as she opens it she is prompted to enter a password? She currently has her gmail being sent to Mail and doesn't want her bf to have access to her emails so easily. She is the admin and therefore can't put parental controls on it, which would obviously be the easiest way.
The most effective way to handle this is to give the BF his own user account and force its use. If the BF digs around in her email, she needs a new BF!!

Please don't judge my poor sister. Although it is true that she bought her macbook because it's pretty, she is a very smart girl and would like to learn! I showed her the Apple resources, ehmac, and taught her some important key commands ("why can't I right-click?"). As they say, you can lead a horse to water...
http://images.apple.com/support/mac101/elements/title_mac101_us.jpg (http://www.apple.com/support/mac101)

RunTheWorldOnMac
Feb 19th, 2008, 10:59 AM
yep...give him his own Apple account! If anyone insisted they have my account information I would either a) asses the situation and possible GET OUT! Or b) I would close my email account. If the relationship was worth it, then I would try to work it out...

johnnyspade
Feb 19th, 2008, 12:14 PM
You can give her that right click back. I assume she's using the Mighty Mouse which, in my opinion, may be one of the worst things Apple has ever produced. You can plug a two button mouse in there and it should work fine.

draz
Feb 19th, 2008, 12:25 PM
I would set the security setting on the machine to require a password every time the machine is awoken from sleep...nip the issue in the butt. And that would force him to use an alternative profile or his own for surfing the net.

gordguide
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:03 PM
This won't protect an individual application, but it does insure she can keep more than just her mail secure from prying eyes. In the long run, it makes the Mac much more useful if you can confidently use it for stuff you want or need to keep private.

Go to System Preferences ...

If it's a default installation, there will be an icon in the dock, and also while in the Finder it's at Apple Icon: System Preferences. Finally, it's found in the Applications: Utilities folder.

Anyway ...
When I say "you" I mean "your sister".

Go to System Preferences: Security
If there is a closed lock icon in the lower left, click on it. You will be asked to enter your username & password (same as your login information). If it's an open lock icon, you are OK to make changes now.

If you don't know your username and password (same as admin data) you had better find out or change it to one you do know.

Anyway ...

This is for 10.4; 10.5 should be similar.
Filevault:
A good idea, especially on a laptop. However, don't enable this if you can't or won't back up. It's possible to corrupt the FileVault volume and with no backup, it's literally impossible to recover. The entire home folder will be unrecoverable.

If you can get your sister to backup her home folder once a month or so, however, it's excellent security. Should her laptop be lost or stolen, no-one (and I mean no-one ... not Apple, not the cops ... etc) will be able to read her home folder without her username and password if Filevault is enabled. This means it's safe to use the laptop for internet banking, etc.

If you think she might back up, and FileVault is therefore a good idea, then we will create at least one additional account later.

Master Password: if you think she can remember one that is different from her login or admin password, this is a good idea. If not, leave it.

Now for the rest:
Check the boxes at:
-Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver
-Disable automatic login
-Require password to unlock each secure system preference (will result in the locked icon I spoke of earlier)
-Use secure virtual memory

-Log our after xx minutes of inactivity is optional; if you don't want to enable the screen saver, this is worth considering but the screen saver with the boxes checked as above is better since it's faster to go back to work and just as secure.

Click the lock in lower left to prevent further changes.

Click on [Show All]

Go to:
Desktop & Screen Saver: Screen Saver
... and pick one. Set the time delay at: Start screen saver
... to anything other than "never".
You can set a hot corner if you want, but it's not necessary if you follow the next step and for me at least, gets in the way when inadvertently activated.

Click on [Show All] again.

Go to:
Energy Saver
Set your sleep options if you already haven't done so.
Close the window, you're done for now.

Go to:
Applications: Utilities
Double-click Keychain Access.app
Go to:
Keychain Access: Preferences: General
Click the checkbox at:
Show Status in menu bar

Restart.
Your sister will now have to enter her username & password to log in to her account.

She will have to authenticate (enter her admin password) to change System Preferences. She will also have an icon in the top right of the menu shaped like a padlock. Have her click on it and select: Lock Screen

She will find herself back at the username & password box again. This allows her to lock the screen if she goes away from the computer without waiting for the screen saver to kick in at whatever delay she decided to set it at. One nice thing about that is you don't have to set the Screen Saver to an annoyingly short period since you can lock the screen instantly if necessary with Keychain Access.

Finally, Keychain Access is handy to store secure notes which no-one else can read, like perhaps bank account info (which security question is on this account and what answer did I give?). You go there by selecting "Open Keychain Access" in the menu that appears when you click on the padlock icon. Then it's File: New Secure Note ... and type away.

She should now go to System Preferences: Accounts
... and set up a second account. Name it whatever, I find adding the number 2 to the main account name is good enough (eg: yoursister2 ). I also find it useful to go to Desktop & Screen Saver while logged into this second account and select a unique desktop pattern, one you won't choose for your main account, so you know instantly that you are in the second account. A plain dark colour works well, for example, but whatever.

This will be essentially unused, and you don't really want to use it for anything, but it allows her to easily backup her FileVault volume by simply copying it to another drive. She will find it at Users/Username/ and she can simply drag it to another drive whenever she wants to back up here entire home folder.

It's also a good troubleshooting tool, and chances are sooner or later someone is going to ask her to create this account anyway. May as well do it now.

Finally, a third account for her BF, or just all guest users if she wants.

Filevault volumes that she copies to a backup media can be opened by her at any time on any Mac as long as she knows here username and password.

One thing about Filevault: it's probably not worth it to constantly back up iTunes music and iPhoto pictures, and perhaps movies if she does any of that in iMovie.

You will want to help her move the default locations for her iTunes music, iPhoto pictures, and iMovie projects by going to the appropriate preferences and selecting a new location ouside her home folder. Just create a new folder somewhere outside the Users folder.

A bonus is it's easier to share music, for example, with the other user accounts on the same computer that way.

Finally, none of this is any use if her password is easy for others to guess or if her BF or someone else somehow discovers what it is. So, make sure she creates a reasonably secure password and keeps it from prying eyes.

danaekitty
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:25 PM
WOW, Gord, thanks for the info. Can you tell me one more thing: If she creates another user account for her bf, will he still be able to access the files they have on the admin account, such as music, apps he's downloaded, word documents, etc? Or will creating his own account pretty much give him a clean slate?

gordguide
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:49 PM
It gives him a clean slate.

I added it later, probably after you read my post, but things you want to share you store outside her user account.

An example:
There is already a shared folder on her Mac:
[name of HD]/Users/Shared

You could place items you want to share across accounts in there. Apparently 10.5 also allows you to designate any folder as a shared folder (outside the user's home directory) but I run 10.4 so you might have to poke around Apple's site to figure out the details.

As for sharing things like iTunes, here is an example:

Launch iTunes; go to:
iTunes: Preferences: Advanced: General
... where you can navigate to a new location to store music other than the default iTunes folder in her home directory.

There are a few more tricks to sharing an iTunes music library but there are plenty of answers to that question, here on ehMac and elsewhere. Do a search for an appropriate thread.

danaekitty
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:52 PM
Perfect, thanks a lot, Gord.

johnnyspade
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:54 PM
Gord, that's a fantastic post, thanks for taking the time to write it. I have saved it for future reference.