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I am using Mac OS X 10.5, and have my account set up so that I don't need to login. When I go to Network Preferences and click the lock icon on the lower left corner, I am prompted for my username and password. I simply enter my password and the lock icon becomes unlocked.

But when I go to a shell and enter su, I get this:

$ su
su: Sorry

What password do I enter here?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

For suing you would ned the password of the target account, root in this case. But on Mac OS X, root doesn't have a password, su this will never work. You can however use sudo -i which will give you a root shell too. You need to enter your user's password there.

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sudo -s works as well. It mnemonics out (sudo -s[hell]) better for my scatterbrain processes. – peelman Mar 9 '11 at 19:52

Enter sudo su. You can use your own password then.

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Set a password for root with passwd:

sudo passwd root

Then you will be asked for sudo password, which is your usual login password,


And then you can set or change the root password:

Changing password for root.
New password:
Retype new password:
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