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  • How to Boot Mac OS X in Single User Mode


    Running Mac OS X in a Single User Mode allows you to do maintenance and administration tasks which would otherwise be unavailable to a normal user when the computer runs in a multi-user mode.

    For example – in a single-user mode you can run the fsck command to scan your disk for any errors, and fix them if any.

    It’s important for you to note the following while using single-user mode on your Mac:

    • Keyboard layout is set to US English
    • Network access is disabled, preventing anyone from accessing your Mac remotely

    Many of you may  find single-user mode on Mac useful or necessary only while trying to troubleshoot a problem with your Mac’s start-up. However, software developers may find many more uses.

    How to Boot Mac OS X in Single User Mode

    Let’s further see how you can boot Mac OS X in a single-user mode.

    1. If your Mac is running at the moment, please shut if off.
    2. Press the power button to start your Mac.
    3. Immediately after you press the power button, press and hold the Command and S keys simultaneously.
    4. You should now see white text appear on your screen as you enter the single-user mode.

    If you are not able to enter the single-user mode, it is possible that the Open Firmware Password Protection is enabled by the Mac’s owner or administrator.

    Advanced users should be aware that Mac OS X does not have init states, as it is based on BSD Unix, not on System V Unix. To get out of the Single User Mode just type the “reboot” command and press enter to reboot the machine.

    It is also possible to exit the Single User Mode by typing “exit” and pressing enter, but that will boot Mac OS X in safe mode, which means limited functionality. You still have to reboot to get back into the normal mode with full functionality.

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    One comment
    1. Ambrose Carracho

      26 May, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      It is possible to continue directly to the GUI interface from Single User mode without a restart. Doing so is invoked by exiting the shell using any of the standard UNIX methods–issuing an ‘exit’ command, typing control-D, and so on (exception: don’t use the .rcboot shell script, as it has been deprecated). You will then be taken to the standard GIU login page.

      This method of getting to the GUI portion of the OS is of limited value for everyday use, however, as OS X will subsequently operate under the restrictions of the “Safe Mode” environment What is Safe Mode? until the system is restarted.

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