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Creating a Troubleshooting Account On Your Mac

TMO Quick Tip - Creating a Troubleshooting Account On Your Mac

by , 7:30 AM EDT, July 26th, 2006

Sometimes things just don't work right on your Mac, and the cause of your problems isn't immediately obvious. For those situations, I recommend creating an extra user account just for troubleshooting. Here's how:

  • Launch System Preferences. You can find it by choosing Apple menu > System Preferences.
  • Click Accounts.
  • Click the plus button below the user list to add a new account.

  • Click the plus button to add a new user account to your Mac.
  • Fill in a user name, short name and password for the account.
  • Since this account is for diagnosing problems, go ahead and check Allow user to administer this computer. Now you can still perform administrator level tasks even if your primary administrator account is damaged.
  • Click the Create Account button.


Enter a user name, short name, and password when you create a new user account.

To switch from your primary user account to your troubleshooting account, choose Log Out from the Apple menu. Enter your troubleshooting account user name and password in the login pane, and then press Return to open your troubleshooting account.

You can use a troubleshooting account to see if application and system crashes occur outside of your primary user account. If so, then you most likely have a system-wide problem. If not, then the issue is hiding somewhere inside your primary account.

This is only one of many ways to use a troubleshooting account to diagnose problems on your Mac. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments for today's tip.


if you have ideas for Mac related tips that you think other TMO readers might find helpful.

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