I have a Mac (macOS 11) that won’t fully boot because the only user’s home directory is set to an inaccessible location, a volume that apparently isn’t mounted until later. I want to change that user’s home directory. I am able to boot into recovery mode, open the terminal, mount the main disk, and edit files on it, I just don’t know what changes to make to change the home directory.

I think this is close, but the datasource (“.”) is wrong:

dscl . -change /Users/{username} NFSHomeDirectory  {old value} {new value}
  • 2
    It's probably easiest/safest to just boot into single-user mode, follow the on-screen instructions to remount the root volume read/write, and then rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone, then reboot. This will make the first-boot Setup Assistant run, and you can use it to create another local admin account. Then from that account, you can use the Users & Groups panel in System Preferences to fix the other user's home directory (control-click on the user in the list to get the advanced options). Then log into the now-fixed account, and if desired, delete the spare admin account you just created.
    – Spiff
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 23:07
  • @Spiff Thank you, I used this workaround successfully. A note to anybody reading this, it did still require me to log in with my broken account, but after typing my password it entered setup instead of erroring out.
    – twhb
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 7:46


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