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How to disable the root user in OS X Mountain Lion

OS X Mountain Lion Installer app

OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8) is the ninth major release of OS X (now named macOS), Apple Inc.’s desktop and server operating system for Macintosh computers. OS X Mountain Lion was released on July 25, 2012 for purchase and download through Apple’s Mac App Store, as part of a switch to releasing OS X versions online and every year. Named to signify its status as a refinement of the previous Mac OS X version, Lion, Apple’s stated aims in developing Mountain Lion were to allow users to more easily manage and synchronise content between multiple Apple devices and to make the operating system more familiar. Mountain Lion is also the final version of OS X to be developed under the supervision of then-OS X head Scott Forstall.

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

Warning: If you log in as the root user, use extreme caution. You can damage the system by moving or deleting important files. Use this account only for specific administration or monitoring tasks. When you finish the tasks that require logging in as the root user, always log out, log in as an administrator, and then disable the root user.

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 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 > Disable Root User.

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