Recover lost admin rights on OS X 10.10 and 10.11_allow user administer this computer

How To Recover Lost Admin Rights On macOS High Sierra and Sierra, Mac OS X El Capitan And Yosemite

OS X 10.11_El Capitan icon 256x256If you lost your administrator rights on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, macOS 10.12 Sierra or macOS 10.13 High Sierra, you can recover the admin privileges easily by rebooting into Apple’s Setup Assistant tool. This will run before any accounts have been loaded, and will run in “root” mode, allowing you to create accounts on your Mac. Then, you can recover your admin rights via the new administrator account. After that, you can reboot into your recovered admin account and delete the interim administrator account.

Recover lost admin rights on OS X 10.10 and 10.11_create a computer account

Recover lost admin rights on OS X 10.10 and 10.11_create a computer account

Normally, when you set up Mac OS X / macOS for the first time, your initial account will be an administrative one, allowing you to configure the system and install applications. Sometimes rare, errors that occur when upgrading, e.g. from OS x 10.10 Yosemite to OS X 10.11 El Capitan, or restoring from backup, or otherwise when making heavy modifications to the system, could result in your admin account being destroyed so you cannot log in to it or use it for changing system settings.

If it happens then one quick but well-known and convenient trick for recovering administrative status on a system trigger Apple’s Setup Assistant tool. This will run before any accounts have been loaded, and will run in “root” mode, allowing you to create accounts on your Mac.

Even though the Setup Assistant only runs once when you first install Mac OS X / macOS, it remains on your computer and is prevented from running by the presences of a hidden file called ‘.AppleSetupDone‘ in a system folder on your Mac. Therefore, to have the Setup Assistant run again so you can create a fresh admin account, you simply need to remove this file:

Easily recover lost admin right on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan,  macOS 10.12 Sierra or macOS 10.13 High Sierra by reactivating Apple’s Setup Assistant tool. Be aware that this option is also a security risk to your mac.

Stay tuned! 😉

About 

Hi there,

my name is Gee Are, blogger and analyst. Blogging is my Passion! I’m the founder and owner of the two blogs called pabst.socialmedia and miapple.me - Tech.Blog.

My work experience as a blogger and analysist (Internet Intelligence, SEO and social media) is the basis of the services of pabst.socialmedia.

Find more about me.

31 replies
  1. Dirk
    Dirk says:

    I’m having the same issue with Yosemite, but your first step doesn’t work. In the end I’m not able to have the start-up disk writable.

    Reply
  2. Dirk
    Dirk says:

    Hi Gee,

    yesterday it didn’t work, today it does. What a good sleep and a cup of coffee can do! Thanks for your support!

    Regards,Dirk

    Reply
    • Gee Are Pabst
      Gee Are Pabst says:

      Hi Anna,

      I cannot guarantee you anything. But so far in my experience, there’s no risk if you do not delete any account.

      Regarding your current data: You use the new account solely to gain access to your ‘old’ account again. This means you do not need to transfer any data. Just follow my instructions carefully step-by-step!

      Cheers,
      Gee Are

      Reply
  3. stephanie de leng
    stephanie de leng says:

    this does not work for me at all. I tried twice Do I press return after I enter these commands? Sorry to ask – I did enter return but it has not helped. I am not clear if I enter reboot at the end or ‘reboot’

    Thank you

    Reply
  4. Jonathan
    Jonathan says:

    Hi Gee,

    Once I boot up my mac, it just starts up, and holding command + S didn’t do anything. What should I do?

    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Nhimnguyen
    Nhimnguyen says:

    Hi there,

    By accident, I ticked in the box “Allow user to administer this computer”. Now I have 2 admin accounts but I really want to remove one of them. I did log out the one I want to remove, logged in the one I want to keep, open the golden lock, but the “minus” button is always grey so I cannot remove it. Please anyone tell me what should I do now? Many thanks

    Reply
  6. campanita
    campanita says:

    Hello Gee
    I followed the instructions, but it didn´t work. Started normally after reboot. Does it work with High Sierra?
    I did notice that when I wite this: mount -uw it / shows up as this: mount/uw/

    Reply
  7. Hansol Park
    Hansol Park says:

    Hi, so umm.. i have this problem and did exactly what you told me to do. but all it does is that after rebooting, it just comes up on a normal startup screen. plz help.

    Reply
    • Salam
      Salam says:

      Power off then on while holding command+S
      Then on the command line type these orders, paying attention to spaces and capitals as shown below
      This will reset the mac to the first start point, you vreat an admin account, then change the other account privilege to admin. . ..

      mount -uw / (return key)

      cd /var/db (return key)

      mv dslocal dslocal.old (return key)

      mkdir -p dslocal/nodes (return key)

      cp -Rp /System/Library/DirectoryServiceS/DeafaultLocalDB/Default dslocal/nodes/ (return key)

      rm .AppleSetupDone (return key)

      reboot (return key)

      Reply
  8. Salam
    Salam says:

    Power off then on while holding command+S
    Then on the command line type these orders, paying attention to spaces and capitals as shown below
    This will reset the mac to the first start point, you vreat an admin account, then change the other account privilege to admin. . ..

    mount -uw / (return key)

    cd /var/db (return key)

    mv dslocal dslocal.old (return key)

    mkdir -p dslocal/nodes (return key)

    cp -Rp /System/Library/DirectoryServiceS/DeafaultLocalDB/Default dslocal/nodes/ (return key)

    rm .AppleSetupDone (return key)

    reboot (return key)

    Reply
  9. tim
    tim says:

    I just want to say It is incredibly annoying when I don’t actually use Facebook, but to in order to see the information I have to go the the process of recovering a password word so I can like this article only to find that it didn’t work. Probably an error on my end, I know, but it is still very frustrating.

    Reply
  10. Gil
    Gil says:

    It actually worked very well for me. Just make sure and put in spaces where his are. You have to pay attention to the spaces or it will not work.
    I am up and running again!
    Thanks Big Guy!!

    Reply
  11. Mummachaos
    Mummachaos says:

    Followed instructions carefully and am thrilled to have my comp all back up and running properly! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  12. Matthewabc
    Matthewabc says:

    It didn’t worked for me on a 2015 mbp
    The both command mount -uw/ and /sbin/mount -uw/ is illegal commands
    So I cannot do any of the commands below

    Reply
  13. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    This really saved my bacon, thanks! I skimmed these instructions on how to change an account’s username: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201548
    I missed that you need to create a separate administrator account, and tried to do it from the account I was updating. When the computer restarted, the username and folder hadn’t changed, but the account was downgraded and I no longer had admin privileges.

    Reply

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