Resources for Mac OS X System Administrators

Below are free resources that we offer for Mac OS X system administrators.


System Imaging

Blast Image Config

Quickly restore system disk images and set the firmware security password and mode on Intel (EFI) and PowerPC (Open Firmware) Macs. Used at PSU to quickly build all Lab and Kiosk Macs.

Penn State Network File Storage

We provide tools for Mac OS X to connect to the PASS and UDrive network servers on our Map PSU Space Utility for Mac OS X web page.

Penn State/CLC OS X Kerberos Authentication and LDAP Authorization Installers



  • IT811: Creating and Managing Packages for use with Multiple Images (4.7 MB)
    An important part of any enterprise deployment may include using repackaging tools (that aid in the distribution of software). How an application inventory is maintained, how that inventory is distributed, and how modifications are made to applications for an enterprise deployment, are paramount when making the decision to use packages. Secondly, Apple's package format can be used to deploy scripts without payloads, thus permitting yet another layer of management. We will examine how any application can be repackaged into the standard packaging format used by Apple, and leveraged with the functionality of Apple Remote Desktop 3. During this session you will be walked through examples on how to track the installation of software, create packages with and without payloads, repackage application updates, and general techniques.
  • IT821: Image Creation Techniques (1.4 MB)
    Your box is perfect, but you need to clone it to 1,000+ machines. How do you even begin to think about it? What tools are ideal, Apple Software Restore, Disk Utility, NetRestore, command line tools, other third party tools? As such, there are a variety of techniques that can be used to prepare the images. Another aspect to image creation is the variety of hardware on which the image will run. Criteria for differentiating between various hardware specific topics will also be discussed in this session.
  • IT831: Image Deployment Methodologies (6.2 MB)
    Building on the first three sessions, you've got an ideal machine, and have created an ideal image (or images), how are you going to deploy it? Firewire/USB? Netboot? DVD? Web-based? In this session, appropriate methods of distributing images to client machines will be examined with pros and cons of each method discussed. Some best practices for each methodology will also be discussed. We will show there is no right or wrong way to deploy images. Understanding the requirements and limitations of each deployment method will allow you to make better decisions and have a positive impact on your deployment process. You may even find that you mix and match to suit your needs.
  • 2012 Penn State MacAdmins Conference
    Come and learn about PSU Blast Image Config 3.0 ('BIC'), a freeware Mac OS X system image deployment software utility developed at Penn State since 2003 for the deployment of system images in the student computing labs. BIC is well known as one of the fastest OS X system image deployment tools on the market today. Attendees will learn how easily they can leverage BIC to deploy system images to their Macs. Learn everything from the basics of using BIC with external firewire drives to the most advanced methods of adding BIC to a NetBoot environment to restore images from a securely auto-mounted network file server.
    Are you new to deploying Macs in a large environment? If so, you'd really want to learn about Apple's NetBooting technology! Come and learn how to set up NetBoot on Mac OS X Lion Server and all of the ways that it can be leveraged to boot up Macs with the exact same image for a lab, automate Mac OS X and application installations, or learn how to customize it to run other system utility applications. NetBooting is also used for automating system restoration tools like DeployStudio, Blast Image Config, and other system diagnostic and repair utilities. There will be lots of demos to illustrate many of these uses.
  • 2011 Penn State MacAdmins Conference
  • 2010 MacWorld Conference
    • IT871: System Image Creation and Deployment (14.9 MB)


      Justin Elliott, Developer, IT Manager, Macintosh & Linux Systems, Penn State University

      Karl Kuehn, InstaDMG Developer

      The last year has seen important changes in the System Imaging landscape: Snow Leopard's release with a revamped System Image Utility, new offerings from the commercial vendors, and a shakeup in the open-source projects. System Imaging on the Mac platform continues to be a dynamic field. This session will present an overview of the techniques and tools available to new system administrators and more advanced methods for the veteran who needs to stay current with the latest and greatest technologies. We will cover the entire imaging cycle: starting with image development, then creation, and finally deployment and customization.

  • 2009 MacWorld Conference
    • IT843: System Image Deployment Techniques (13.7 MB)
      Creating your Mac OS X system image is only half the battle... now comes the time to actually deploy it, but which method should you choose? Each Mac deployment is different, so it should come as no surprise that there are multiple system deployment methods to choose from. In this session you will explore several popular techniques, including solutions from both Apple and the open-source community. A major focus of this session will be the pros and cons of each technique to help you decide which is right for your deployment.
    • IT823: System Image Creation Techniques (5.8 MB)
      Do you want to learn how to greatly reduce your time in the creation of your master system disk images? You've worked hard on installing and configuring the operating system, applications and scripts of your perfect master Mac, and now you need to make an exact copy of the master disk that will be restored to all of the other Macs that you manage. We'll answer the questions on how one might go about creating this image and what factors should be considered for the most efficient image creation, testing, and fastest possible restores. Come and learn about leveraging Apple's system image utilities and how the open source InstaDMG software tool can save you huge amounts of time by automating the creation of disk images with package installers and other underlying technologies within Mac OS X. We will cover everything from the basic imaging methods utilizing Apple's Disk Utility to the most advanced, streamlined methods of creating disk images with the InstaDMG open source software that leverages and builds upon Apple's powerful technologies.
  • 2008 Multi-OS Booting Macs

    Download Slides (1.9 MB)

    These are a summary of our thoughts, research and discussing the pros and cons of supporting multi-OS Macs in the student computing lab locations. Also called 'Dual Booting' - but we think that Linux is also a viable booting OS option, not just Windows!

  • 2007 PSU IT Pro Roundtable

    Download Slides (1.9 MB)

    Description of this presentation: This IT Pro Roundtable [was] presented by Justin Elliott and Yadin Flammer from the PSU Mac Admins group. Come learn about Apple and 3rd party tools that facilitate system administration of Mac OS X clients and servers. If you are interested in looking for tools and information to assist you in your daily systems maintenance, then plan on attending. Demos of various tools and techniques will be shown as well. Justin and Yadin will talk about various tools and methods for effective system maintenance used by CLC (Classroom and Lab Computing) and SALA (School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture) for both Mac OS X clients and servers.

  • 2007 MacWorld Conference
    In collaboration with, these are the presentations that Justin Elliott presented during the MacWorld Expo 2007 Conference from January 8-12, 2007 in San Francisco, California.
  • 2005 PSU User Services Conference

    Download Slides (496K PDF)

    These are the slides that were used for our presentation on Remote Administration for Macintosh Computers at the Penn State 2005 User Services Conference.

  • 2003 PSU Seminar Slides

    Download Slides (23.7 MB PDF)

    This is an Acrobat PDF file of the slides that we presented at the May 22, 2003 Apple UEF and PSU Seminar on Mac OS X.

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Last Updated March 23, 2017