Headless Computer Administration

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hi everyone. I'm in the process of getting a bunch of mac machines for our SMB network and I'm a bit confused about one component: the headless mac mini. I'd like to control the machine from day-1 using my i-mac. Is there any way to accomplish this? I also will have a macbook pro at my disposal. So yeah, can I setup the mac-mini without ever plugging in a keyboard/monitor or is that functionality only available on an xserve?

Also, once the machine is setup (i.e. accounts created and OS-X configured), is it easy to administer/remote-desktop over the network? Do I need to buy software to do that?


p.s. I tried asking an apple salesrep and a systems engineer, neither of them had very coherent answers


  • Reply 1 of 2
    You may still need to do the firmware updates locally
  • Reply 2 of 2
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,724member
    Whilst there may be the very odd occasion when you might need a local keyboard, mouse & monitor (e.g. as Joe said, firmware updates (which come out… hardly ever), and initial setup of the machine), you should find remote control fairly straightforward.

    Depending on the kinds of things you need to do, if you are handy with a Unix terminal, you may be able to do everything by logging in to the command-line via ssh. Ssh can be enabled by going to the "sharing" pane of system preferences and clicking the "remote login" checkbox.

    If you need/prefer a GUI method, you can use VNC server & client (both free) or Apple's (paid for) "Apple Remote Desktop". I don't know much about Apple Remote Desktop, but I believe that the server is built in to all OS X 10.4 installations, and it is the client software that you must pay for. However, I think it is possible to connect to the Remote Desktop server using a VNC client.
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