Using 'root' as primary account name


I have just installed OS X over my G4 cube's 9.1 installation. During the Create Account phase early in the install I (perhaps foolishly) chose 'root' since the book tells us this account is administrative... I'm sure I'll not be the first person with a *nix background to do this...

So my problem is that all applications are not executable -- in the Dock they appear as folders which aren't clickable (or nothing happens), my Home folders I have Insufficient Privileges to view(!), the Application folder is full of folders, like the dock, with the files deep down in Contents not executable.

Has anyone else seen this problem? Is it related to my choice of primary account name? Any suggestions how to fix it?

Thanks, Paul


I just encountered the same thing and so logged in here to make sure I wasn't crazy. I couldn't even find a Startup Disk to execute, so I stuck the 9.1 CD in to switch back to my other partition... yeesh.

Going to try again with a normal user-name, but I had seen a suggestion to start with root.. oh well.

Just gimme a damn console with a good gui and I'll be damn happy.



As a follow-on, you have to erase that partition before reinstalling osX or it finds your same user/password and is still hosed.

I've done that and now have it working. That applications would not launch under the other way is still amazing to me. What a gaff.



On many UNIX installs the account 'root' cannot launch any applications, but can only do 'root' things. This is actually good practice as it stops people logging in as root all the time and then making (costly) mistakes.

Apple should probably make this very clear in their documentation that 'root' shouldn't be chosen as a admin name. I must admint that I found it a bit odd when I installed OS X not to choose 'root'.


I first used root as my first user when I installed OSX. Better off not doing it. I just reformatted, reinstalled and used some other name and all was okay. Root is already preconfigured by the BSD undercarriage and I think using it again just fuxors it all up. Why? You got me, just don't do it if you know what's good for ya! There is probably a way to unfuxor it, but reintalling took less time and there was a good show on the television at the time. Good luck!


just me
It is true that you can not setup root as an administrator account when installing OS X.

However, after you have installed, there is a way to become root.

Insert the OS X install CD and allow it to boot the system.
Then select from the options menu: change passwords.

Select root as the password to change, and enter a password.

Quit install (DO NOT install again).


Now you can log on as root, or su from any account that has administrator status. All applications will work.

Hope this helps...



I had the same problem when I created a user named "ftp" (I wanted to set up ftp-access for someone). The "ftp" user already existed (ftpd runs as "ftp", but I forgot that - stupid error) and I had some trouble with that. Now, I have checked what users already exist (using NetInfo Manager) so that I won't make that same mistake again...