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I have an account on my OS X Mavericks system that I want to disable so it cannot be used for login. I would not like to delete the account permanently but rather disable it temporarily.

I believe that this was possible in Lion – but maybe my memory plays tricks on me?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

You can disable a user account by setting their shell to /usr/bin/false.

Either run chsh -s /usr/bin/false <username>, or change it in Users & Groups → Advanced Options. To change it back, run chsh -s /bin/bash <username>.

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I was aware of this trick, but does it also apply to GUI logins? – mgd Jun 16 '14 at 12:18
@mgd Yes it does :) – grgarside Jun 16 '14 at 12:19
I just used this, and now (after re-enabling the account, which was an admin, btw) the account can't use the Terminal: login: /etc/shells: Permission denied. Did I do something wrong? – cullub Jun 2 at 22:52

For Yosemite and newer, you can use

sudo dscl . create /Users/UserName IsHidden 1


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This doesn't actually disable the account, it just hides the username on the login page. There's still an 'Others' entry there where the hidden user can enter their username and password. – Stuart Hallows Oct 5 '15 at 11:38

For the beginners and mac newbies follow this detailed guide

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Welcome to Ask Different! While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – grgarside Jan 1 '15 at 15:46

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