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Create a root desktop Desktop
You can have two desktops (one for root, one for your normal user) in the same Mac OS X session by using this small trick I found while trying a previously published tip on running the Finder as root. That hint does not seem to work in 10.1.1, possibly due to the Security Update.
  1. Copy Finder.app from /System/Library/CoreServices/ to your user's Applications directory (/Users/user_name/Applications; you may have to create this folder if it does not exist). Do not copy the Classic application also named Finder; the one you want is around 5mb in size.

  2. Rename the file with a different name (say rootfinder) and change the icon.

  3. In the terminal, execute the application by typing:
    sudo /Users/user_name/Applications/rootfinder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder &
    Enter your password when prompted, and replace user_name with your user's short username. "Open -a rootfinder" from terminal doesn't start the Finder as root, and so it won't bring up two desktops.
That's it! The Finder starts as root (you can move/delete any file) and comes up with a new desktop.

If you have ASM, you can switch between the two Finders and you will find the desktop picture and Finder preferences changes when you switch. You cannot switch using the dock as rootfinder does not appear in the dock. The only way to get rid of the root finder is to force quit.

[Editor's notes: As cautioned earlier, be careful when using a root Finder. You can do all sorts of bad things to your system with this trick! I experimented with this a fair bit, and had some mixed results. I was able to launch the root Finder with the simpler "sudo open -a ~/Applications/rootFinder.app", but this gave me a different desktop picture than did the above method -- yet both images were different than my standard user's desktop! Also, if you have DragThing you can switch between the two Finders and quit either one of them via the Process Dock. My desktop picture would NOT switch when switching back and forth between environments. Lastly, please be careful if you're going to try this hint! This is clearly a hint that falls in the 'experimental' category!]
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Sweet!
Authored by: efoivx on Dec 02, '01 03:26:24PM

Awesome any app you launch when in that finder runs as root too!
Switch to the root Finder and then launch Terminal from within it and the terminal will put you in root mode.



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Some added ideas
Authored by: skapplin on Dec 02, '01 10:23:16PM

Download the freeware utility Pseudo from VersionTracker and put in the Dock. You can then drag the rootfinder onto the dock and automatically launch it without using the Terminal.

Alternatively, create an alias and use "sudo -S /Users/user_name/Applications/rootfinder.app/Contents/MacOS/Finder &". the '-S' switch in sudo takes the password from stdio so as quickly as you type the alias and return your rootfinder will launch without the need to enter the password from the command line. This method could aso be done as an Applescript, I suppose, and avoid using the terminal altogether.



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