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I'm a very finicky person when it comes to my locale settings, and none of the preset regions is good enough for me.

I want my dates in german (or ISO) format, but I want the names of days and months to remain in english.

I want 24h format, SI units, USD currency with clear notation for negatives, and so on and so on. The specifics don't matter much. The settings that I care about are all under the Format tab of the International prefpane.

Every new Mac that I setup from scratch, I have to customize each tiny item bit by bit.

What I want to know is if all these things are in a sensible plist file that I can put on my Dropbox and load into every Mac that I have an account on. Or, better yet, if I can actually create a new Region that would appear under the region dropdown in the aforementioned prefpane tab.

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3 Answers 3

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The corresponding keys in a preference file are stored in a file called .GlobalPreferences.plist in your user's Preferences folder. You can if you want to copy this file to Dropbox (I highly suggest dropping the period in front of it when copying it to your Dropbox) and copy that to the user's Preferences folder. There are several other items that are stored in that file that you may inadvertently reset so I would recommend using a script to run the defaults command to apply your desired changes.

I'd recommend opening the .GlobalPreferences.plist file in Property List Viewer (part of the Developer Tools), or in your favourite text editor (after converting from a binary plist to an xml one to make reading the values much easier - plutil -convert xml1 ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist)

Copying File

cp ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist ~/Dropbox/GlobalPreferences.plist
# On Next Computer
cp ~/Dropbox/GlobalPreferences.plist ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist

Defaults Command

#!/bin/sh
#Example from my .GlobalPreferences

/usr/bin/defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist AppleLocale -string "en_CA" 
/usr/bin/defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist AppleICUDateFormatStrings -dict 1 "MM/dd/yy"

Not being familiar with the other keys involved I can't say what the other bits are but if you'd like to post the output of

usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c Print ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist

to Paste Bin or somewhere else I can offer to help fill in the missing defaults commands. I'd also recommend cleaning the output of items such as NSNavRecentPlaces for when posting publicly.

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Thanks, that can sure get me started. Unless someone figures out a way to create a new region entirely, going with a script calling defaults sounds like the best way to go. I'll inspect the plist later and try to figure out all the keys. –  kch Aug 13 '09 at 14:51

All these preferences are "per user", therefore, you should digg the ~/Library and ~/ for preference files that are of your interest.

Since OS X has Unix underpinnings, the concept of skeleton users should apply.

Here you have a link to a somewhat more descriptive paragraph of the idea and some "steps":

Skeleton Accounts on Mac OS X

(after you have done the skel account, you can copy the skel's home directory to your dropbox)

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Use something like Carbon Copy Cloner to backup your current OSX installation, which is tweaked just the way you want it and migrate it to the machine you want your new installation on.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a clone , it’s an exact copy of a volume, preserving all invisible files, permissions, metadata, and other information that some traditional backup applications—as well as the Finder—don’t actually copy. In fact, an accurate clone is the only way to create a bootable backup of a Mac OS X disk—a backup that lets you get back up and running in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the hours it might take you to reinstall Mac OS X on a drive and then restore your files. (Note that you need to clone to a drive that’s actually capable of booting a Mac; not all drives are.)

But a clone is also useful when upgrading to a major new version of Mac OS X: You can clone your Mac’s hard drive to another drive; then use the OS X Installer to perform an Erase And Install of the new OS on your Mac; and then connect the clone to your Mac and use Setup Assistant to automatically migrate your user accounts, settings, and data from the backup to the new OS X installation.


Or you need something like Slipy

to create a slipstreamed version of your OSX installer. However Slipy 1.3 (which I linked) is from 2005 and I have no idea if you can use it on newer versions of OSX.

I'll keep looking to see what I can find.

Product Description:

Slipy is a utility used to create a Mac OS X install DVD disk images from your existing Mac OS X 10.3 install or upgrade CD set, Mac OS X 10.3 Server install CD set or Mac OS X 10.3 install DVD. In addition, Slipy can create automated installs and will allow you to "slipstream" or add additional software installations to your install DVD. Once created, simply use Disk Utility to burn your custom image to DVD.

Or use a tool like INSTAHackintosh OS X DVD Builder which let's you tweak your DVD installer. If you don't tweak anything but the regional settings you wanted it should be no problem.

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I use SuperDuper for full disk clones, but that's not what I'm asking for. I want very specifically to know about the region settings. –  kch Aug 14 '09 at 12:07
1  
Those settings are changable after you install it right? Since then just migrate your settings after it's "vanilla" installed and your done. –  Ivo Flipse Aug 14 '09 at 12:27

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