The very short answer to "what are managed preferences" is this: a managed preference is XML that is applied to a user, group, or computer record that alters the default behavior of the system or of an application. Managed preferences are stored in a directory service. This directory can be remote (Open Directory running on Mac OS X Server or ActiveDirectory on Windows Server, for example) or local (the local directory that's running on every Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 machine).
GitHub - timsutton/mcxToProfile
mcxToProfile - Convert OS X property lists and MCX into Configuration Profiles with Custom Settings payloads.
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