Configuring root access on your Mac

January 3, 2014, 9:14 pm
Author: James Griffiths

If you don’t have administrator access to your Mac and need to perform tasks such as installing software then you’ll need to acquire root access. To do this is relatively simple, just follow the steps outlined below and you should be up and running in the space of 3 minutes or less:

  • Boot your Mac into Single-User Mode by holding down the Command and S keys on startup
  • Once the drive has mounted and the command line ceases displaying output type the following command (important: note the space between the flags -uw and the forward slash): /sbin/mount -uw /
  • Press enter and follow with this command: launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.opendirectoryd.plist
  • And finally enter your new root user password by typing: passwd
  • You will be prompted to enter your chosen password twice
  • After you have done this reboot your Mac for the changes to take effect with the following: shutdown -r now and hit the enter key to initiate the command
  • Once your Mac has rebooted and you have logged in (with your regular non-root user account) you should now find that you have root access when prompted to make changes (such as when installing new software)

Please note that the above commands were tested on a Mac running OS X 10.7 in an office network environment. Use of the above instructions is entirely at your own risk and Saints at Play Limited and its agents and employees accept no liability for any issues that may arise from your decision to implement these on your own and/or third-party Macintosh computer.

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