How to Enable the "root" Account on Mac OS X
8 August 2012
Quick Menu Method
The menu method is the easiest method to enable the "root" account on
a Mac if you are more accustomed to using graphical tools such as
For older versions of Mac OS X you used NetInfo Manager, but
for newer Mac's you use the Directory Utility.
Either way, once you launch the utility, the proceedures are very
NetInfo - (Mac OS X 10.4 or ealier)
If you have version 10.4 or realier then the proceedure is:
- Log in on the Admin account.
- Start the NetInfo Manager application, which is in
folder: Macintosh HD -> Applications -> Utilities
-> NetInfo Manager.
If you don't have this in the dock for the Admin account you
should probably drag it there.
It is very useful for system administration.
- From the top menu bar pull down the "Security" item and select
"Enable root user".
You will have to enter the administrator's password to
Directory Utility - (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
For Mac OS X 10.5 and later you can use the Directory
Utility instead of NetInfo.
For just Mac OS X 10.5 you will find it in the
For Mac OS X 10.6 and later you start the Directory Utility
from the System Preferences as follows:
Once you launch the Directory Utility, however you do it,
then enable the root account by doing the following:
- Start System Preferences and select "Accounts".
- Under the list of users press the "Login Options", and then
next to that press the "Join..." button next to
Network Account Server. (You will not be joining a network
account server, this is just the convoluted way to get
to the Directory Utility).
- Press the button to "Open Directory Utility..."
- Click on the Lock icon and give the Administrator password
- Pull down the "Edit" menu to "Enable Root User"
- Pull down the "Edit" menu to "Change Root Password..." and
enter a good, strong password for the root user.