Snow Leopard: Enabling the root user

By default, the root user is not enabled in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Enabling it takes a simple procedure by way of the Directory Utility application or via Terminal.

By default, the root user is not enabled in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Enabling it takes a simple procedure by way of the Directory Utility application or via Terminal. In Mac OS X 10.5, Directory Utility was located in the Applications > Utilities folder. In Snow Leopard, this is no longer the case. You can now find Directory Utility in System > Library > CoreServices.

To enable the root user using Directory Utility:

  1. Open Directory Utility.
  2. Click the padlock icon to unlock the application. Enter your administrator password to authenticate.
  3. From the Directory Utility menu bar, select Edit > Enable Root User.
  4. Now, select Edit > Change Root Password and enter the password of your choice.
To enable the root user using Terminal:
  1. Open terminal and enter: sudo passwd root
  2. Enter your administrator password followed by a password for the root user and you're all set.

Keep in mind that enabling the root user significantly increases the security threats on your Mac. Users should only enable the root user if they specifically need it and know what they are doing.

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