Use The Terminal to Setup Apple Remote Desktop Computer Info #1

Computer Info #1 from the Command Line

UPDATED: Since this writing, I’ve switched from Mike Bombich’s NetRestore, to DeployStudio.  DeployStudio offers the ability to populate all 4 computer info fields after restoring an image, as part of an imaging workflow.  I highly recommend DeployStudio for system imaging.  Occasionally, I still use the method outlined below to tweak these fields.

Part of my client management process involves using the “Computer Info #1” field in Apple Remote Desktop 3 (ARD) to store the physical location of each machine on my network.  This helps me quickly identify a machine when I’m looking at a list of several hundred Macs.  Currently, I enter this information manually on each computer when they’re re-imaged over the summer.  I’m always looking for ways to reduce the number of steps in my imaging process, so I’ve been trying to find a terminal command that I can use to push out this setting to multiple machines at once through ARD.

After much searching, I found my answer:

/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -configure -computerinfo -set1 -1 your info goes here

Use ARD’s ‘Send UNIX Command’ feature and send this to the machine(s) you wish to update.  Enter the information you’d like in place of your info goes here. If you’d like to enter a space between words, use a backslash and a space like this: First\ Word

ARD allows you up to 4 fields of computer info, so just follow the convention for those as well (-set2 -2, -set3 -3, etc).  I’ve tested this with OS X 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6 with success.  It was unsuccessful on a machine running OS X Server 10.3 (an old eMac running as a CD-ROM server, serving up disk images).  To find out more command line options for setting up and configuring Apple Remote Desktop, enter the following command in a terminal window (you’ll be asked to authenticate as an administrator):

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -help

Even though doing this manually only takes a few seconds, it certainly adds up when you have to do it a few hundred times.  I can also now do this at the time of imaging, or any time without having to control the remote screen through the GUI.  I may eventually automate this and incorporate it into a post-flight script as part of my imaging workflow.  If I do, I’ll be sure to post the script.

About the Author: acletras

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14 Comments

    • Reply acletras

      Ben, nope. I started using DeployStudio a few years ago and that has a workflow step which allows you to fill in this info using a nice GUI (it evens maintains a database of your machines’ info to save you from re-entering it all if a machine is reimaged).

      If you need to automate it, looking at AppleScript might be a good place to start.

  1. Reply Trevor Gerzen

    Are you still writing new articles here? It looked like there weren’t new ones since 2011. I was wondering if you’d be able to write up something on how you use DeployStudio. I’ve found a lot of things on DS but nothing that really helps someone who’s totally new to the idea start from the beginning. It looks like most everything is written for people who know the very first, basic steps. Found this site when searching for a UNIX command to change a user’s password. It totally worked 🙂 so thanks

    • Reply acletras

      The blog isn’t totally dead, but as tends to happen I’ve been extremely busy with life and unfortunately something had to take a backseat.

      I like your suggestion about a getting started with DeployStudio article. I’ve been meaning to write something new for a while, so that might just be it! Glad the unix command worked for you. I often search my own blog when I can’t remember something I came across, so if nothing else it’s a personal archive of sorts 🙂

  2. Reply jk

    I know this is an old thread but what command did you enter to display the various arguments/variables? Is this from a certain man page? (there seems to be no kickstart man?) Thank you.

    • Reply acletras

      You have to have Apple Remote Desktop installed. If you do, enter the following in Terminal:

      sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -help

      This has to be run as a super user, so either log in as root, or more simply use sudo as shown above. It’s not quite a man page, but it’s what you’d expect if there were one for kickstart. It explains the switches, flags, variables, arguments, etc for the command, and how to use them from the command line. Hope this helps!

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