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When I log in as a Guest user on Mountain Lion, i get a transparent dock with no background 'surface': Guest user's dock

I can seem to find the settings that would make the dock in my own users' desktop look like this. Is it even possible for non-guest users?

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Maybe that look is to show you visually that as a guest you can't make changes to the dock. Interesting, I wish there were a way to get that look, the "surface" is definitely not my thing either. – Richard Dec 9 '12 at 23:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

To make the dock transparent in Mountain Lion type the following two commands in a terminal:

defaults write hide-mirror -bool yes

killall Dock

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You could try a program called Mirage, which should make the dock transparent.

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Mirage (as mentioned by ekaj) is a great solution, but it is no longer being updated and the developer's site has been down for a long time. I wrote an app called MacUtil that gets the job done, look here for a short video showing it in action.

MacUtil is a customization application for the Mac. It allow you to make your mac your own, with lots of customization options ranging from two dimensional docks to modifications of CoreOS files.

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Instead of a link to a video can you please add a download link for the software? That would make the answer rather more useful. – patrix May 29 '13 at 4:48
Added the link. – russellsayshi May 30 '13 at 23:37

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