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Is there a way to require a password to login to single user mode? I don't want to use a firmware password, because that will not only disable single user mode, but also Startup Manager (which I use to boot from a USB). I don't like the idea of anyone with physical access to my computer having more privileges than my user does.

I'd simply like to have it ask for the root password before logging in as root, or ask for any username and password, and log them in normally. Is there a way to do this?

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I don't have a direct answer to your question, but what you could do - to at least have a password authentication - is encrypting your hard drive (either using built-in FileVault2 or some other encryption software). Since we talk about a full disc encryption here you will be prompted for a password immediately after turning on the Mac (pre-boot authentication). If you want to protect your data you should use full disc encryption anyway, because without it no password will rescue your data if one has two minutes physical access to your Mac and wants to steal your data. Encryption does. –  cyphorious Feb 19 '13 at 15:05
    
@cyphorious I'm not so much worried about data theft (private files are in an encrypted dmg), but if you need the key to even boot, that could work well. Does full-disk encryption slow things down? For example, does the entire OS need to be loaded to memory? –  tkbx Feb 19 '13 at 15:19
    
Full disc-encryption of course comes with the "disadvantage" that every read and write operation from and to the HDD has to be en/decrypted. The algorithms are pretty fast and so is the hardware IMHO. I use my MacBook >10 hours a day and don't feel that it slowed down compared to the time I didn't use full disc encryption (using 8GB RAM). But there may be usecases where one does feel some drawbacks. I do a lot of software development, office work,... and don't feel disadvantages. –  cyphorious Feb 19 '13 at 17:42

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The following article may help your problem. :)

Mac OS X: Require Password at Single User Mode

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