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I accidentalley deleted the sudoers file on Mac OS X; is there any way to recover it?
And once you've recovered it, how do you set it to mode 0440?

I presume not but I am desperate to get it back!

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I'm assuming you are trying to run a sudo command and it's giving you an error that /etc/sudoers does not have the correct permissions?

If you have previously granted your account Admin status, you should be able to fix the permissions through the GUI. Open the “/etc” folder in Finder (“Go” -> “Go to Folder…”), then open the sudoers file properties. Click the lock. Grant the admin group read/write, the system user read-only, the wheel group read-only, and the everyone group no access. The permissions should now be correct.

If you did not put yourself in the admin group, you will need to reboot OSX into single user mode and perform the command chmod 0440 /etc/sudoers.

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If I understand your problem correctly then currently you don't have sudoers and you are trying to do sudo and its not working. In this case to get sudo working you can do the following :

  1. Create sudoers file in your home folder. You can find default content here sudores
  2. Open the “/etc” folder in Finder (“Go” -> “Go to Folder…”).
  3. Now copy sudoers file from home folder's to /etc folder via Finder.
  4. Prompt will come asking for password.
  5. Enter correct password and you are done.

To check sudo is running fine cd /etc and sudo vim sudoers. You should able to view sudoers file via vim editor. (Actually any read/write operation in /etc would require sudo command)

I know this is a bit surprising that even after not having sudoers, via UI we can do operations in /etc. But it worked for me :)

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It is indeed odd that the GUI equivalent of what is impossible from the command line works. I guess Apple test for GUI workflows more thoroughly than command line. Thank goodness, this post rescued me. – user7000 Mar 12 at 19:20
Good to know that it helped you. – Tanmay Mar 13 at 7:01

Enable the root user using system preferences, and then create /etc/sudoers while logged in as the root user.

touch /etc/sudoers; chmod 440 /etc/sudoers

Then use visudo to insert this code into it:

# sudoers file.

# This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
# Failure to use 'visudo' may result in syntax or file permission errors
# that prevent sudo from running.
# See the sudoers man page for the details on how to write a sudoers file.

# Host alias specification

# User alias specification

# Cmnd alias specification

# Defaults specification
Defaults    env_reset
Defaults    env_keep += "BLOCKSIZE"
Defaults    env_keep += "COLORFGBG COLORTERM"
Defaults    env_keep += "__CF_USER_TEXT_ENCODING"
Defaults    env_keep += "LINES COLUMNS"
Defaults    env_keep += "LSCOLORS"
Defaults    env_keep += "SSH_AUTH_SOCK"
Defaults    env_keep += "TZ"
Defaults    env_keep += "EDITOR VISUAL"

# Runas alias specification

# User privilege specification
root    ALL=(ALL) ALL
%admin  ALL=(ALL) ALL

# Uncomment to allow people in group wheel to run all commands
# %wheel    ALL=(ALL) ALL

# Same thing without a password
# %wheel    ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

# Samples
# %users  ALL=/sbin/mount /cdrom,/sbin/umount /cdrom
# %users  localhost=/sbin/shutdown -h now
ALL ALL=(ALL)                   NOPASSWD:/opt/dplat/bin/Revision/CMUpdatePackage/Installer.app/Contents/MacOS/I  nstaller
ALL ALL=(ALL)     NOPASSWD:/opt/dplat/bin/UpdatePackageInstaller.app/Contents/MacOS/UpdatePackage    Installer

If you aren't an admin, you can boot the system into single-user-mode instead (if you don't know how to do this, just google it) and do the command

mount -uw /

and you will be in the root terminal

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