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How to get to Single user mode

1193 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: May 13, 2013 10:26 AM by Miki23 RSS
alfejoy Calculating status...
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Feb 16, 2013 2:00 AM

When i hold ctrl + s it boots to shell mode, how to i get it to boot to single user?

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
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    Feb 16, 2013 2:14 AM (in response to alfejoy)

    That is 'single user mode'.


    What is it that you want to achieve that you need single user mode for?

  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (12,505 points)
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    Feb 16, 2013 2:39 PM (in response to alfejoy)

    Single-User-Mode is NOT a Graphical User Interface. It IS a shell prompt with no GUI, no networking.


    Perhaps you are thinking of the recovery partition booting holding the R key?

  • Steven Jones Calculating status...
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    Feb 16, 2013 4:07 PM (in response to alfejoy)

    I assume that you mean command + s, not control + s. Command + s, if held down straight away after turning on, should get you into single user mode. The screen should be black with white text on it.

  • BobHarris Level 6 Level 6 (12,505 points)
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    Feb 16, 2013 4:10 PM (in response to alfejoy)

    The shell is correct.  That is ALL you get in Single User Mode.  This is the Unix Single User Mode, and it has been this way since the beginnings of Unix in the '70s.


    And it is Command-s for Single User Mode, not ctrl-s.  Here is a URL with a list of keys that can be held during a Mac OS X boot: <>


    I need to create another admin log in as i have totally forgot my password


    If you are on Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8), then you can reset your Admin Password via the recovery partition.


    < ion/>

    < tain-lion/>


    If you have Snow Leopard (10.6), Leopard (10.5), Tiger (10.4), then you reset the admin password by booting from the installation DVD, selecting "Reset Password" from the Utility menu.


    If the above does not work for you, then try doing a Google search for:

    "Mac OS X reset admin password"

    You might want to include the version of Mac OS X you are running, as it will affect the method needed to reset the password, as there are different ways depending on which version of Mac OS X you are using.

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
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    Feb 16, 2013 6:35 PM (in response to alfejoy)

    The only reason you would need single user mode to do that is if you're using Leopard/Snow Leopard and don't have the install DVD. If that's the case, follow the method in the article here:



    If that doesn't work, try this:


    1. Boot the mac whille pressing Command-S at power on
    2. Type fsck -fy
    3. Type mount -uw /
    4. Type launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    5. Type dscl . -passwd /Users/username password


    replacing username with the username of the account and password with a new password.


       6. Reboot.

    OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,150 points)
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    Feb 18, 2013 12:44 PM (in response to alfejoy)

    It's command + s


    mac is comand.  Linux/Unix/Terminal is control.


    This page will tell you how to get into single user mode.


    Basically, you hold down the command + s key then  powering on your machine. The command key has a little apple symbol on the lower left. It is between the alt/option key and the space bar. On a PC keyboard, it will be the windows key, I think.  The boot up will take longer than normal.   The filesystem will






    You can  change the password on an account.  ( Do you know Unix. You are in a Unix single user console. )  The setup commands you need should be listed on the screen.  For Mac OS 10.4.11, the commands are:


    # Type the follow two instructions to access the startup disk in read/write:

    # ( in case of partial success repeat this command until errors go away. )

    /sbin/fsck -fy

    /sbin/mount -uw /


    ->Start up some utility processes that are needed.

    sh /etc/rc


    ->You will probably need to press the return key once the system stops typing.


    ->To find out the users on the system type, use the <b>l</b>i<b>s</b>t command. The l is a lower case L:

    ls /Users


    ->One of these accounts will be the administrator.


    ->Pick one of the users which I'll call a-user-name and type it in this command:

    passwd a-user-name

    ->and enter the new user password. You need six characters.

    ->You will need to enter your password twice.  Your typing will not show up on the screen just

    -> press enter when you complete the typing.

    ->For cryptic information on these commands try:

    man ls

    man passwd

  • Miki23 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 13, 2013 10:26 AM (in response to alfejoy)

    For more info:


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