user cannot be found in Mac OS X

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After running the script in this answer to show all members of the group wheel, I got a weird result.

The user tempuser cannot be found
There was an unknown error.

When I tried dscacheutil -q user -a name tempuser, I got nothing. Grepping for tempuser in /etc/passwd also gives nothing. So what is this tempuser account doing here and how can I get rid of it?

I have a sneaking suspicion that I created it some time ago while testing, but it seems odd that I could create a user account which most of the OS doesn’t seem to know about.

UPDATE: When running dscl . -read /Users/tempuser, I get

AppleMetaNodeLocation: /Local/Default
AuthenticationAuthority: ;Kerberosv5;;tempuser@... ;ShadowHash;...
GeneratedUID: ...
Password: *...
PasswordPolicyOptions: ...
RecordName: tempuser
RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Users

In contrast, when running that command on my own account, I get those keys, plus the following keys, which don’t exist for tempuser:

PrimaryGroupID: ...
RealName: ...
UniqueID: ...
UserShell: ...

So somehow I generated a user without an id and that’s why the utilities are complaining?


I’m not sure how that tempuser account got created, but however it happened it’s missing some critical properties (mostly UniqueID and PrimaryGroupID), so I can’t really blame dscacheutil for getting confused by it. In any case, it should be safe to delete it with:

sudo dscl . -delete /Users/tempuser

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