I figured out a solution to this on my own. For those of you that might need it do the following:
1. Go to System Preferences> Users and Groups
2. Click on "Login Options"
3. Click the lock on the bottom left and login using your administrator login and password (should be who you are currently logged on as....this is not the root or System Administrator credentials)
4. Click the "Join..." button.
5. Click the "Open Directory Utility" button.
6. Click the "Directory Editor" option in the Directory Utility window.
7. Scroll down the left side until you see "System Administrator" and highlight it.
8. On the right, highlight "AuthenticationAuthority" and hit the - (minus) button at the bottom to delete it.
9. Click the "Save" button at the bottom.
10. At the top of the screen on the Directory Utility menu click the "Edit" option and click "Enable Root User". It will prompt you to enter a new root password again.
Once you enable the root user again it will recreate the AuthenticationAuthority entry that you deleted. Everything should be fixed now and you should be able to login as the root user again.
So I hit the wrong - symbol in your instructions (completely my fault, obviously) and deleted the System Administrator altogether, rather than the AuthenticationAuthority. If you notice, there is a + and - on the bottom left and also on the right hand pane, below list of items for System Administrator.
I'm sort of stuck now and I'm hoping you might be able to help out.
I'm not a casual user and realize what a foolish mistake this was, but, I'm stuck with it now.
Any ideas? I'm not able to disable, enable or use the root and I can't change the password now. And because Lion doesn't come on a drive of any kind, I'm at a loss as to how to reinstall.
Thanks in advance.
We'll you got it right about how to re-establish your "root" account but you ignored the original problem. You said it worked fine at first but when you logged out of "root" then tried to log back in it wouldn't accept the password. What actually happens is the "root" account works until disabled. When you enable it again the passwords will no longer work. You have to go through the whole process as described above every time you enable the "root" account. If you change the password in the mean time you will be asked for the old password at log-in and the new password also. Don't forget the old password.
This is not how this is supposed to work but Apple is loth to change it. Hope this helps.
Well they say a little knowledge is dangerous, but I have a little knowledge if you like danger.
If you are a system administrator you can follow along. If you arn't you need to contact someone who is.
1. Open "terminal"
2. type "dsenableroot" return
3. enter password for system administrator "password whatever it is" return
4. enter desired password for root "password desired" return
5. re-enter root password for verification "password" return
6. type "exit" return
7. go to menu bar and "quit" terminal
9. you should be at log-in screen
10. double click "other"
11. enter "root password whatever that is"
There you have it. Should only take less than a minute.