I just enabled Whole-Disk Encryption (under the name FileVault 2) in Mac OS X Lion. In the setup process, I was asked to select the users whose passwords can unlock the startup disk. I have the root user enabled, but it was not available in this selection.

I frequently need to start up and directly do administrative work which is most easily done in root. Now, it’s not too difficult to start up into one account, then log out and back in as root, but this is obviously more bothersome than it should be. Any ideas how I can start up my computer under root’s credentials?

(Also: In Security & Privacy in System Preferences, there is a button to “Enable Users,” but, of course, root is not offered in that selection either.)

  • Have you tried opening System Preferences while logged in as root? I know the Users & Groups shows a hidden user while logged in as that user… Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 2:33

1 Answer 1


In the terminal, after enabling your root account:

sudo fdesetup add -usertoadd root

and entering passwords as prompted, should do what you want.

  • Would like to note that this is a bad practice (although it does answer the question). Anyone with physical access to the device can now command-R boot into Recovery Mode, launch Terminal, and resetpassword the root account. If you need root access and encryption, think about PGP WDE instead of FileVault -- then you can safely remove the recovery partition -- computers.tutsplus.com/tutorials/…
    – atdre
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 21:16

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