Understanding home directories

Whenever an Active Directory user logs in to a Mac computer, a home directory is created for the user. Mac provides three possible styles of home directory, which can be configured by an administrator to fit the type of user who will be using the computer, the type of computer, and the use to which the computer will be put. Auto Zone supports each of these styles:

  • Local home directory — The user’s home directory is created on the local computer in the Users folder with the user’s login name (/Users/username).
  • Network shared directory — The user’s home directory is created on a network share.
  • Portable home directory — The user’s home directory is created on a network share and copied and synchronized to the local computer. This type of directory is also called a mobile home directory.

When you join a computer to a domain by connecting to Auto Zone, the home directory is created based on the following:

  • Active Directory user settings; for example, an administrator can specify a network home directory in the Profile for an Active Directory user.
  • Auto Zone default values; by default, Auto Zone is configured to support the creation of home directories in the Users folder on the local computer.
  • Auto Zone parameters set in the Centrify configuration file, /etc/centrifydc/centrifydc.conf by an administrator or by a group policy. See the Configuration and Tuning Reference Guide for a description of all Auto Zone parameters.

The following sections explain in detail how to set up each type of user home directory.