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Has anyone seen Lion root account malfunctioning?

1218 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Jun 10, 2012 7:35 AM by Mark Alan Thomas RSS
jasimon9 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 18, 2012 6:05 AM

I believe this to be a serious bug having to do with the root account malfunctioning badly. I have reproduced it several times. I have restarted the machine, verified the hard disk, and repaired permissions. It is still reproducible.


Steps to reproduce:


1. Enable the administrator (root) account.

2. Go to Login Window.

3. Login to root account.

4.Attempt to logout of root account ==> nothing appears to happen. That is, the root account cannot be logged out; neither can the system be shut down from the root account. As far as I know, this is not part of the Lion design, but I could be wrong.

5. Go to Login Window.

6. Login to my regular user.

7. After logging in to the regular user, the logout dialog box is displayed.


My conclusion: the attempt to logout of the root account, while apparently "doing nothing" is instead invoking the logout of the other logged in account. This should not be happening!


During the several times when I performed the above steps, I had attempted to both logout from the root account and shutdown from it. While neither apparent to have any effect on the system, when I quickly logged back to the regular user, there were dialogs present for both logout and shutdown on the screen, with the countdown timer running. I would not expect having both of those dialogs at the same time either.


During one time when this procedure was performed, after logging back to the regular user, the full system was malfunctioning, with many user interface functions not responding at all, such as quitting programs or attempting to logout the regular user. Re-launching the Finder did not help. The system had clearly become unstable and I was forced to shutdown.


I have also sent this as a bug report to Apple Feedback.

iMac (24-inch Mid 2007), Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,445 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 6:14 AM (in response to jasimon9)

    How to disable the root user

    OS X Lion

    1. From the Apple menu choose System Preferences....
    2. From the View menu choose Users & Groups.
    3. Click on the lock and authenticate with an administrator account.
    4. Click Login Options....
    5. Click the "Edit..." or "Join..." button at the bottom right
    6. Click the "Open Directory Utility..." button.
    7. Click the lock in the Directory Utility window.
    8. Enter an administrator account name and password, then click OK.
    9. Choose Disable Root User from the Edit menu.
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,445 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 7:31 AM (in response to jasimon9)

    Q: My car doesn't stop when I turn off the headlights.

    A: That's not the way to turn off the car.

  • jsd2 Level 5 Level 5 (6,200 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 8:54 AM (in response to jasimon9)

    the attempt to logout of the root account, while apparently "doing nothing" is instead invoking the logout of the other logged in account.


    Yes, I had noticed similar  behavior on an earlier version of Lion, and had reported it to Apple.  I've been afraid to try to repeat it, because at one point I couldn't log out of root at all, and couldn't shut down either. I finally pushed the power button, and then had trouble re-booting into any of my drives, even Snow Leopard.

    Here's another thread describing behavior similar to what you described:


    I suspect it doesn't happen on every system or there would be many more such reports.

  • nerowolfe Level 6 Level 6 (13,070 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 9:20 AM (in response to jasimon9)

    Did this happen in Snow Leopard as well?

    When in root, I usually use the terminal, even if I logged in on the GUI screen, so I use the terminal command to restart.

    Usually I use "su" in a terminal and "exit" the root account in the terminal. I rarely log in to the main system as root.


    Perhaps this is supposed to happen. If you can't logout from root, can you at least do a restart? It might be this way for security reasons. Logging out of root is not as safe as restarting the computer and removing all traces of root.

    Just a guess - - I will try it later and see what happens.

  • Mark Alan Thomas Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2012 7:35 AM (in response to jasimon9)

    I've had this problem with every version of Lion. Attempting to log out root doesn't work, and then, when I fast switch back to my user account, I inexplicably find the log out prompt waiting for me there instead. The only way to log out the root account is to reboot the system from my user account.


    Another weird thing which has happened on a few occasions is that, if the root account is logged in but I launch Aperture from my user account, Aperture will also attempt to launch in my root account and then hang there with a message saying that it is already running.


    So root on Lion is basically useless to me.


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