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OS X Mavericks: Enable and disable the root user

Enable and disable the root user

The root user, or superuser, is a special user account in OS X that can modify and delete critical system files. By default, the root user is not enabled.

Warning: If you log in as the root user, use extreme caution. You can damage the system by moving or deleting important files. Use this account only for specific administration or monitoring tasks. When you finish the tasks that require logging in as the root user, always log out, log in as an administrator, then disable the root user.
  1. Open Users & Groups preferences, click Login Options, then click the lock icon to unlock it. If necessary, type your password, then click Unlock.
  2. In the Network Account Server section, click Join or Edit.
  3. Click Open Directory Utility.
  4. Click the lock icon to unlock it, then enter your administrator name and password.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Enable Root User, then enter a root user password in the Password and Verify fields.

    • Choose Edit > Disable Root User.

    • Choose Edit > Change Root Password, then enter a new root user password.

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Last Modified: May 8, 2014
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  • Last Modified: May 8, 2014
  • Article: PH14281
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