WARNING: Severe damage can be done while working in the root account!
The root user is a super user account with high level system-wide access privileges intended for system administration, monitoring, and in depth troubleshooting purposes. By default, root user is disabled in Mac OS X for security purposes. If you do not have a specific need to enable root, you should leave it disabled.
Enable Root User in OS X Lion
This process also sets a password for the root account.
- From the Mac OS X Desktop, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up Go To Folder and enter the following path:
- Inside CoreServices folder, locate and launch “Directory Utility”.
- Unlock “Directory Utility” by clicking the padlock icon and entering the administrator password.
- Pull down the “Edit” menu and select “Enable Root User”.
- Enter and confirm a password to set the root users password and to enable the account.
With root now enabled, the account can be used freely. It will not appear in the Users & Groups preference pane.
The root account can access, read, and write to all files on a system, even if they belong to someone else. Additionally, root can also remove or replace system files. This is why it’s a potential security risk to leave the account enabled aimlessly, or to use a weak password with the account.
The Directory Utility control panel can also be used to change a set root password through the Edit menu, or that can be done through the command line using sudo passwd, similar to changing the root password in iOS devices.