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OS X Lion: Enable and disable the root user

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Enable and disable the root user

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

Important: If you log in using the root user account, use extreme caution. You can damage the system by moving or deleting important files. Use this account only for specific administration or monitoring tasks. Always log out of the account and disable it when you are finished using it.

Enable the root user

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then type an administrator name and password.
  3. In the Network Account Server section, click Join or Edit.
  4. Click Open Directory Utility.
  5. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then enter your administrator name and password.
  6. Choose Edit > Enable Root User, and then enter a root user password in the Password and Verify fields. Be sure to specify a secure password.

    Tips for creating secure passwords

Disable the root user

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then type an administrator name and password.
  3. In the Network Account Server section, click Edit.
  4. Click Open Directory Utility.
  5. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then enter your administrator name and password.
  6. Choose Edit > Disable Root User.

Change the root user password

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then type an administrator name and password.
  3. In the Network Account Server section, click Join or Edit.
  4. Click Open Directory Utility.
  5. Click the lock icon to unlock it, and then enter your administrator name and password.
  6. Choose Edit > Change Root Password, and then enter a root user password in the Password and Verify fields. Be sure to specify a secure password.

    Tips for creating secure passwords

Last Modified: Oct 30, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Oct 30, 2013
  • Article: PH4499
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