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10.5. Single-User Mode

As with other Unix systems, Mac OS X has an unadvertised feature known as single-user mode, which lets you boot the system under the most minimal terms. As the name implies, it allows only one user access—that user is whatever human seated at the keyboard directly plugged into the machine. No daemons run, the network interfaces lie dormant, and not even the root filesystem is mounted.

You will seldom, if ever, use your Mac in single-user mode. Some low-level diagnostic activities might require it; this is where you can manually and safely run /sbin/fsck -y to check and repair filesystem errors on a nonjournaled filesystem, for example, or force one on a journaled filesystem with the -f flag.[4]

[4] Alhough journaling eliminates most reasons to run fsck, doing so can still occasionally reveal filesystem anomalies. However, some errors that can be safely ignored may appear when running fsck on a journaled volume. See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum107250 for more information.


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