How to make sure root account is disabled?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Garydou, Dec 16, 2016.

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  1. Garydou macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    #1
    Sorry, real amateur here. I read about this thing and how dangerous it is to have it open.
    https://support.apple.com/et-ee/HT204012
    I haven't opened enabled it deliberately and the instructions look pretty big to do it by accident.

    At the login window, log in with the user name ”root”

    Does it mean I would notice immediately if Root is enabled? I only have one account since I got this mac, Administrator one. It would be impossible to accidentally enable root account?
    And how to make sure it is NOT enabled? Can I check somewhere?
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    You can check in your system.
    Open System Preferences, then Users & Groups
    Click the padlock to unlock.
    Click Login Options, then click the Join button (Network Account Server)
    Click Open Directory Utility, and finally, go to the Edit menu.

    If that menu shows "Enable Root User", then you know that your Root User is not enabled (and you are good!)
    Don't enable the root user, unless you need that level of user. It's kind of rare for most users to EVER need the root user.
    When you are done with Root User, disable it again. Don't leave it enabled.
     
  3. Garydou thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2016
    #3

    Thank you for this info! There really is no way I might accidentally enable it?
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #4
    Sure, there is always a way that you could accidentally enable it.
    That would be when someone else gave you directions to do some task (or directions from the 'net) that you would blindly follow into enabling the root user "accidentally" There's other methods done through the terminal, and other paths to follow to enable the root user
    But, now that you know for sure how to check if your root IS enabled, and you know how to disable it, if needed.

    But, there is another hint to know that either your root user is enabled (or something else is happening that you need to check on): Log out of your user. The login window should only show users that you know. If it says "Other" as an additional account name, that's your clue that the root user is probably enabled.
     
  5. Garydou thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    #5

    Been very scared of terminal to be honest. Also, never listen to instructions without double checking! Good advice.
    When I boot Mac, it only shows one name and one place to type my password - that being my admin account. So if there is nothing, no root enabled?
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #6
    Hmm.... Probably not enabled, no.
    But, if you ever have suspicions, check to see if it is enabled, or not. There's various hints that you can watch out for, but double-checking is the best method, if you have any doubt at all.
    Can't say that I am "scared" of the terminal. One has to take care that you type commands correctly, and that you choose not to do anything if you don't know what you are doing. Terminal is powerful, but not scary.
    For example, it allows you to enter "superuser" commands, which are root user lever - without enabling the root user.
    You would know, because you have to enter commands using the "sudo" command.
    (There's some kinds of tasks that are greatly simplified by doing them in the terminal, for example, quickly finding large files that take up a lot of space on your storage drive, yet might be hidden (invisible) files. Not always reliable to clean out those files through the Finder, but the terminal makes it quick and easy (not scary, either :D )
    Anyway, there's no harm in avoiding the terminal in normal use........
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    You are right to be cautious in Terminal. The wrong move can really mess things up. If some random person on the Internet like us gives you a Terminal command to use for something, you can look up the command here and sift through all the options to understand exactly what the suggested command is doing.
     
  8. Garydou thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    #8
    Oh, so those are the sudo ones I keep hearing about. Thank you for the info!


    This is very good info! Thank you for that!
     
  9. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #9
    Terminal does not have to be scary, I encourage you to learn how it works and how you can research what commands do. Unix systems have built-in manuals for nearly every command through the man command, for example, man sudo will give you the manual of the sudo utility. There are ample tutorials on the web that can help you along with the basics. I remember seeing a free course at udacity.com, for instance.

    I also recommend that you use separate user accounts: an administrator for installations and system configuration, and a standard user for everything else. That way you can be reasonably assured that you cannot accidentally execute a command that enables the root user, only the administrator account will be able to do this. sudo itself will also be restricted to the administrator.
     
  10. Garydou thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    #10
    Thank you for the links!
    Oh, that is an advice I need to take seriously... extra security is never bad!
     

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