I have an iMac with OSX 10.8, joined to a work domain. I want to get create a custom dock and save it so all users will see my custom dock when they log in. I've done some Google searches and everything seems to point to these steps:

  1. Create dock how you want it
  2. Copy ~/library/preferences/com.apple.dock.plist to /system/library/user\ template/english.lproj/library/preferences

I've done this and then logged in as a new user, but am seeing a different dock than I created. I've also tried copying com.apple.dock.db to English.lproj/library/preferences as well, but to no avail.

The new users that will be logging in are network accounts.

Am I missing something?


1 Answer 1


Dug up my notes from when I first modified the user template in our base images. Ran back through the process, changing the default Dock to have about 15 items, on a fresh Mac and these steps worked. I did a lot of this from the command line, so as to not fuss with changing/reverting permissions using Finder.

  1. Arrange your Dock however you would like for it to appear on new user accounts, changing the orientation and adding/removing applications.

  2. Browse to ~/Library/Preferences and copy the com.apple.Dock.plist file to your desktop.

  3. Open Terminal and start a root session by typing: sudo -s

  4. Enter your current account's password when prompted

  5. Copy the copy of your modified dock preference file from your desktop to the User Template in your Mac's System folder.: cp ~/Desktop/com.apple.Dock.plist System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Library/Preferences/

That should do the trick. I tested this on a fresh Mac by logging into both a Guest account and a new (created after the above steps) standard user account, both accounts showed the proper Dock with 15~ items.

It shouldn't be necessary with these steps but if you run into trouble you should verify that the /System/Library/User Template folder has permissions set to: System - Read/Write & Everyone - No access.


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