Open a Root Finder Window in Snow Leopard or Later
September 28, 2009 18 Comments
This is an update to an existing post about the same topic. Yes, you can still open a root Finder window in Snow Leopard, but there is an extra step required.
First, run the following command in Terminal and then enter your password:
Next, click on an empty spot on your desktop — not in an existing Finder window. Now, type Command-N (⌘-N) or select New Finder Window from the File menu. A new Finder window resembling the following should open:
You can see that it opens up to the root user’s home. Use this window to navigate anywhere you like and make the changes you need. Keep in mind that you can do just as much damage with this as you can in the Terminal as root.
To end your root Finder session, go back to the Terminal window and hit ^C.
Quirks to be Mindful of
- You won’t be able to interact with any files you might have on your desktop, as those belong to your logged-in user account and root’s desktop is currently (and transparently) sitting on top of it.
- If you take any screenshots, they will be owned by the logged-in user and you’ll need to navigate to them via your root Finder window.
- If you attempt to open/double-click a file which requires root access to read, the corresponding application will open as the logged-in user and the file will fail to open. To get around this, you can launch the app’s /Contents/MacOS executable as root and open the file from within the app.