Create Spare User Account on Mac to Troubleshoot Problems

When setting your new Mac system or after re-installing the latest version of macOS, creating an admin account or a spare account apart from your normal user account is highly recommended. This admin account can be used to troubleshoot some common issues with the applications or macOS. Let us see how a spare account can be used to troubleshoot issues.

How to Troubleshoot Problems with Spare User Account?

When you encounter issues with your Mac and presumably aren’t hardware related, like freezing of an application, stalling of macOS and display of rainbow cursor, show possibilities of preference file corruption. But how to find out which preference file is corrupt? The Preference file will be located in various places when you install any apps or OS X. You can find them in your user account that is; ‘/username/Library/Preferences’ and at ‘/Library/Preferences’.

To find out what’s causing the problem, the easiest way is to log out of your account and log in from Admin or Spare account. From this login, you will be using the untouched and clean preference files. Run the application that you are having a problem with and see if the same issue arises.

If the problem doesn’t persist, then the app's preference file stored in Library folder - ‘/username/Library/Preferences’ should be corrupted. With the simple deletion of those preferences, you can the application to function normally.

This troubleshooting method can be used on common macOS issues. Try replicating the incidents that are causing the problem. If you are unable to do it, then it means the problem is with your account’s data.

If you are still facing issues even from the spare account, then, there are issues within the entire system. Maybe one or more files are corrupted in ‘/Library/Preferences’ location. It might also be because of the incompatibility of the app that you installed recently with your system. A bad system font can also be the problem.

A spare user account is a ready-to-use tool and can be set up easily. And remember that, a spare or admin account doesn’t troubleshoot the problem, it only directs you to the cause of the issue.

Creating Admin/Spare Account

It is highly recommended to use create an admin account instead of normal account. Having an admin means having more flexibility. The account allows you to access, delete or copy files while troubleshooting process.

Create an Admin account with easy to remember user id and password since you’ll be using it rarely. Also, remember not to have a password easy for others to guess since this account come with the privileges. Though it not advisable to use the same password for different accounts, I this case, it would be ideal to use the same password as your normal account. You surely don’t want to get stuck at the time of troubleshooting, remembering the password you created long ago for an account you use rarely.


With the pristine admin account, it is easy to diagnose the issues. Meanwhile, if you come across any data loss situation while re-installing your Mac, you can always go a tool to retrieve data after reinstalling Mac. This recovery software has an advanced algorithm which deep scans the drive for the lost restores your data from hard drives in its original structure.

Create Spare User Account on Mac to Troubleshoot Problems was last modified: January 29th, 2020 by John Harris

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