Bulk login computers through ARD

You can use the “Unix” tool in Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) to bulk login a bunch of computers all at once.  Just recently I had a need to login a couple hundred computers to the same account in a short period of time so I resorted to this osascript and ARD to do it.  I followed 3 steps:

  1. Build your list of computers
  2. Issue a restart on all the computers via ARD
  3. Issue the login script on all the computers via ARD

Lets take a quick look at each step.

Build Your List

file-newlist-ardAnytime before I need to log a bunch of machines in I start creating a list by clicking on File -> New List, and giving it a name.  Then I jump into a scanner and search the IP range of the systems I need to log an account into.  As I find computers, I drag them into the list I created and authenticate to the computers as needed.  This will build a convenient reference list for when you need to do the actual login.

Issue a restart

I restart all the computers in question because it is an easy way to get all the machines into the same state.  Even if all the computers are at the login screen, it doesn’t mean they all have to same field selected (username or password) or have any field selected for that matter.  So, a quick restart, and everyone is on the same page.  This isn’t a required step, but it will help minimize abnormalities with the login script.

To do this through ARD, just go to your list of computers, click on one to select it, then type “command-a” to select all computers in the list.  Now click on Manage -> Restart, then click the “Restart” button.  Boom, all those machines are now restarting.

Issue the login script

Once the machines are all back up, you can re-select all the computers in your list and click on Manage -> Send UNIX Command.  Select “Run Command as User:” and put in the user “root”.  In the top field paste the script:

Change “USERNAME” to your actual username keeping the quotes, then do the same for “PASSWORD”.

send-command-ardClick send, and you now have a bunch of logged in computers.

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