When you’re setting up a new computer for yourself—migrating data and settings, installing all the apps you’ll need—you can take your time. You might even enjoy digging through the system preferences menus and checking the box on this one, unchecking the box on that one, or adjusting the sliders on the other. Adding in your network details, security settings, and default applications makes a generic machine feel more like your own. Fine, but do that on your own time. 

Tweaking preferences and being picky about what you set up now and what you defer until later is not an option when you’re staring at a pile of new laptops that all need setting up.

If you already know what those preferences settings, parameters, and configurations need to be, script it. Just about anything you can do within system preferences, and even the preferences of most applications on a Mac, can be done at the command line. Which also means it can be put into a script.

A quick sidenote on MDM and profiles: even if you’re deploying an MDM to manage your clients’ Macs (which you really should), a standard setup script will still come in handy. Preferences set by configuration profile can’t easily be changed by the user. In matters of security and compliance, that’s an advantage. But for items that you want to remain flexible, use your script to set a standard default, and the user can still modify as necessary.

It takes just a handful of commands to make seemingly endless permutations of customization. The first of these is systemsetup. As implied by the name, this command lets you set the sort of preferences you might be asked for during the system setup process. To see what you can modify this way, type the command

sudo systemsetup -printcommands

This requires sudo, since it affects the whole system and not just one user. 

It’s worth noting that the list of available options will include items of some importance not only to customizing the user’s environment but also to security compliance. Choices such as whether the computer wakes from sleep on network access, or how long the idle delay is before the display locks, are important considerations when auditing for CIS certification, for example.

Look through the list of the systemsetup commands and make a note of which options you’ll want to employ in your own onboarding script. More on how to do that later in the blog of our partner N-able.


If this information is helpful to you read our blog for more interesting and useful content, tips, and guidelines on similar topics. Contact the team of COMPUTER 2000 Bulgaria now if you have a specific question. Our specialists will be assisting you with your query. 

Content curated by the team of COMPUTER 2000 on the basis of marketing materials provided by our partners/vendors.

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