Your Desktop & Roaming Profiles-Computing Services - Carnegie Mellon University

Your Desktop and Roaming Profiles

All public cluster computers offer Roaming Profiles. Roaming Profiles save your Mac preferences giving your desktop a consistent look and feel as you move from one cluster computer to another. For example, if you bookmark a web page in your browser on one Mac cluster computer, it will be bookmarked in that browser on any other Mac cluster computer.

Initial Log In

The first time you log on to a Mac cluster computer, your Roaming Profile is created and is saved as you work. The Roaming Profile is created and stored in the Library folder of your AFS directory, offering consistent access to your custom settings including browser favorites, applications, files, folders, servers.  The next time you logon to a Macintosh cluster computer, your profile will be available and a shortcut will be created and placed on your Desktop. You can also store your own set of fonts in your Library/Fonts folder.

Note: Although you can save files to your Mac cluster desktop for easy retrieval on ANY Mac cluster, doing so will lengthen your login time.

Home and Sandbox

Shortcuts are present on the desktop of every Mac public cluster computer:

  • Sandbox - The Sandbox is useful when working with applications (e.g., InDesign) where performance is improved when files are saved locally; see Sandbox. Files and folders in the Sandbox can NOT be accessed from other computers; they are DELETED the minute you log off the cluster computer.>
  • AFS - Allows quick access to Global AFS space.
  • Home - The Home shortcut, labeled with your Andrew ID, enables quick access to your local folders (Desktop and Documents), shortcuts to the Library (Roaming Profiles data), and the folders from your AFS directory; see Home.
  • Mount MyFiles DFS - Mounts your MyFiles icon, allowing quick access to your DFS space; see DFS space
  • MyFiles.command - Opens a terminal window.

The Dock

As is true with any Mac computer, the Dock makes it easy to open applications, documents and other items you use frequently. Your Dock preferences are stored in your Roaming Profile and are accessible from any Mac cluster computer.

Note: If a question mark "?" appears on the dock instead of the application icon, that particular application is not available on that machine or is stored in a different location on that Macintosh.  They appear in the dock only because they are part of your Roaming Profile.  You can remove these question mark icons by dragging them from the dock onto the desktop.  Keep in mind that removing them from your dock on one machine, will remove them from the dock on all cluster Macs based on the information stored in your Roaming Profile.

Last Updated: 7/12/13