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Recently I was attempting to install some new software for a user. I followed these instructions to create a new admin-level account but when I held down cmd+S while booting it still booted into the regular login GUI, rather than into Single User Mode. The user doesn't have Open Firmware Password Protection installed -- what other reasons could there be for cmd+S not working?

  • Try holding the "option" key while powering on, does it reach the Startup Manager (screen with the hard drives/systems listed)? If so then try holding option AND command while powering on, does it skip this screen? If not then the command key is faulty. – Mr Rabbit Jul 21 '14 at 17:08
  • Please edit your question to include: the model identifier of the Mac, its boot ROM version and SMC version – you'll find those in System Information; the and the make and model of the keyboard. – Graham Perrin Jul 22 '14 at 19:36
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Core Storage

If FileVault 2 is enabled for the OS X startup volume, then EfiLoginUI will present a graphic login dialogue before the start of OS X – seconds after the startup chime.

If the startup key combination is timely, then startup should proceed to single user mode after a user's passphrase has been entered.

Firmware

Whilst I don't know the model of your Mac, I can draw attention to a 2011 topic that was resolved in MacRumors forums:

Wireless keyboards

Apple Wireless Keyboards: Using startup keys

If I recall correctly, one type of Apple wireless keyboard is (or was) known to be problematic … at the moment I can't find a reference – sorry.

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