I am customizing the guest account under Lion. Several questions here, any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Currently after opening the user panel in sys prefs, some of the settings saved for the Guest Account in the workgroup manager are lost. How do I prevent this from happening?

Is there a way to copy all the settings from an existing regular user account into the guest account? If that's not possible I'd like to define standard settings for the following:

  1. Turning off "natural scrolling" when using the trackpad
  2. Turning off "welcome screens" for Firefox, iWork and others
  3. OS language
  • It sounds like you want to set up a real account named guest and use some product like DeepFreeze by Faronics to keep it the same after every reboot. Customizing the new user creation process is possible, but you'll have to learn the insides of account management. – bmike Sep 16 '11 at 15:33

How to Customize the Guest Account

It would probably take me longer to type out how to do it than it will take you to make your changes so I am going to send you to this YouTube video which details the process:


The only thing I would add is that may want to make a backup of the original template.

  • No problem Daniel. If it answers your question would you mind marking this as answered? – Samuel Mikel Bowles Sep 20 '11 at 23:54
  • Is there something easier and more user-friendly? – mist Sep 21 '12 at 12:46

The technique I use is:

  1. Sign into the Administrator account. Enable "fast user switching".
  2. Switch to the Guest Account.
  3. Set things up as I like.
  4. Switch to the Administrator account. Copy preferences files as needed.
  5. Log out of the Guest Account, and back in.

I do the copying from a 'Terminal' window:

cd /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Library/Preferences/
sudo defaults read /Users/Guest/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist
sudo cp /Users/Guest/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist .

Which copies the current Guest dock to be the system default dock for new accounts. The Guest account is a "new account" every time it is used.

Here's the magic juice to set 'unnatural' mouse direction for the Guest Account:

defaults write /System/Library/User\ Template/English.lproj/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist com.apple.swipescrolldirection -bool false
  • Will this work for FileVault's guest account? (the one that can only run Safari). – adib Sep 5 '15 at 16:26

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