How To Change the Student Dock on Multiple Machines

Using ARD (Apple Remote Desktop)

What you will need:

A machine with the ARD Admin ver. 1.2.4 installed. (Note, this machine must also have the same image as the machines you want to update or modify.


  • Choose one Mac as your model for software distribution.
  • Log in as teacher.
  • Install ARD ver. 1.2 Admin on this machine.
  • Run SW Update to update your ARD Admin to 1.2.4.
  • Go to Apple> System Preferences> Accounts and select the student account. Click on the Limitations tab and give the student account no limitations. Click on the Security tab and give the student account rights to administer the computer.
  • Reboot the Model machine.

Now you are ready to install new software for distribution.

Step 1. Make sure you are logged in as student. Install the software that you want to distribute. (For example, Millie’s Math House, Type to Learn, or Reading Counts)

Step 2. Following installation, locate the installed application icon and drag this icon to the Student’s dock. After you’ve placed the icon on the dock, test it to make sure it launches the desired application successfully and that all functions properly.

Note: This is a good time to make any desired preference changes to the application if needed.

Step 3. Next, log in as Teacher and use the above Preparation instructions in reverse to turn off admin rights for the Student account and set “Some Limitations” so that students cannot modify the dock.

Step 4. After you have everything the way you want it on the model machine, launch ARD Admin while you are logged in as a Student. You will be asked to enter the Teacher’s admin password to use this application.

Note: If this is your first time using ARD from the Student account, you will have to add the computers that you want to modify to the Setup list.

See ARD Admin Manual.

Step 5. Once you’ve added all the computers that you want to modify, use the “Logout/Quit Applications” feature from the “Manage” menu.

Warning: If the student is logged in while you try to modify the Student’s dock you’ll cause a sharing violation, so the student HAS TO BE LOGGED OUT.

Tip: Try copying an application and modifying a Student’s dock on only one machine as a test the first time you attempt this process. Then log into the machine as student and test the results of your work.

Step 6. After you have logged out the users on the machines you’re modifying, select all of the machines and go to the “Manage” menu.

Step 7. From there choose the “Copy Items” option. Navigate to the item(s) you want to copy and press the “Choose” button.

Step 8. The window will show the “Bailey’s Book House” folder in the items to copy window.

To copy the dock, you have to find the preference file that stores information that generates the Student dock on the model machine.

Step 9. Navigate to the “Users” folder.

Macintosh HD/Users/Student/Library/Preferences.

In the Preferences folder locate the file called

Step 10. Use the “Choose” button to select the file.

Note: Make sure the “Place items in:” window has “Same relative location” selected.

Press “Copy.”

Note: Once you do this, the Admin Client may tell you one or more files already exist in that location, do you want to replace it?”

Click “Yes.”

Once it’s done, log the target Macs back in as Student, and your new and improved Dock should be there ready and waiting for your students.

Note: This same procedure can be used to distribute SW to your teacher accounts.

Warning: This procedure replaces the end users’ docks. That means if they have modified their dock already, adding other applications, etc. Their changes will be replaced by your distributed Dock settings. This procedure is best used when all computers have identical images.

Student Dock Stepset.doc developed by L. Loughmiller, edited by S. Jeske 9/21/04