dsenableroot - macOS


dsenableroot is a command-line utility in macOS that facilitates the enabling or disabling of the root user account. Traditionally used by system administrators, this tool allows users to perform higher privilege operations that are not accessible to standard user accounts. It’s particularly useful in scenarios requiring direct file system manipulation, batch scripts, or system-level troubleshooting.


The basic syntax to use dsenableroot is as follows:

dsenableroot [options]

When run without options, the command operates interactively, prompting the user for the necessary input.


  • -d: Disables the root user.
  • -u <user>: Specifies the administrator username when not running interactively.
  • -p <password>: Provides the administrator password when not running interactively.
  • -r <rootPassword>: Provides the root password when enabling root non-interactively.

Typical Usage Scenarios:

  • To enable the root user interactively:
  • To disable the root user:
    dsenableroot -d


  1. Enable Root User Interactively


    Follow the on-screen prompts to input administrator credentials and specify a new root password.

  2. Disable Root User

    dsenableroot -d
  3. Enable Root User Non-Interactively

    dsenableroot -u admin -p adminPassword -r newRootPassword

Common Issues

  • Permission Error: Make sure that the administrator username and password are correct and that the user has administrative privileges.
  • Security Concerns: Enabling the root user can pose security risks. Always ensure that the root account is disabled when not in use and that a strong, secure password is set when enabled.


dsenableroot can be integrated with shell scripts for automating administrative tasks. Here is an example of a script that checks if the root user is enabled, performs tasks, and then disables it:

dsenableroot -u admin -p adminPassword -r rootPassword
# Your system administrative commands here
dsenableroot -d
  • sudo: Temporarily gain root privileges.
  • passwd: Directly change user password, including root if the user has adequate permissions.

For further information, you can refer to macOS’s official management documentation or access the man page using the man dsenableroot command in the terminal.