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I inherited my mom's computer but I don't know her password to get in.  how can i reset it

752 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: May 13, 2013 6:27 PM by Ralph Landry1 RSS
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May 13, 2013 6:00 PM

My mother passed away and I have her computer.  I don't know her password to get in it but I want to access all of the pictures etc she has on her computer?  How?

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,015 points)

    Forgot Your Account Password

     

    For Snow Leopard and earlier

     

         Mac OS X 10.6- If you forget your administrator password

     

    For Lion/Mountain Lion

     

        Boot to the Recovery HD:

     

    Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and R keys until the menu screen appears. Alternatively, restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager screen appears. Select the Recovery HD and click on the downward pointing arrow button.

     

         When the menubar appears select Terminal from the Utilities menu.

         Enter resetpassword at the prompt and press RETURN. Follow

         instructions in the dialog window that will appear.

     

         Or see Reset a Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Password and

         OS X Lion- Apple ID can be used to reset your user account password.

     

    If you are unable to boot from an installer DVD:

     

    (these will only work on Leopard or earlier)

     

      1. Boot to Safe Mode by restarting and after the chime press and hold down

          the COMMAND-S keys until a black screen with white type appears.

     

      2. At the prompt, type the following commands pressing return after each

          command line:

     

         /sbin/fsck -yf

     

         If you do not receive a "Filesystem OK" message then repeat this command

         until you do.  If after seven tries you still do not receive a "Filesystem OK"

         message, then the system is corrupted and needs to be reinstalled.

     

         mount -uw /

         cd /private/var/db/netinfo

         mv local.nidb local.old

         rm ../.AppleSetupDone

         shutdown -r now

     

    The second-to-last command above will cause OS X to think that the operating system is newly installed, and when the new owner starts up the computer it will send him/her to the startup wizard where he/she can start a new user without reinstalling.

     

    This last method does not actually change a password. It simply removes the user accounts and lets you create an initial admin account as if the computer were new out of the box.

     

    Reset Admin Password Using The Terminal

     

    You can reset the password by printing out (or writing down) and carefully following these steps.

     

    First, find the short name of the admin user on the machine. The easiest way of doing this is by looking at what the directory is called in the Users folder.

     

    Now, start in Single-user Mode. It should boot into a command line.

     

    Enter these exact lines. Press RETURN after each.

     

    mount -uw /

    ifconfig lo0 up

    cd /var/db/netinfo

    netinfod -s local

     

    Now you'll need that short name. Enter "passwd", a space, and the short name of the admin. For example, if the admin was rather prosaically called "imadmin", you would enter "passwd imadmin".

     

    The computer will now prompt you to change the password for "lmadmin" (or whatever the short name was). Go ahead and enter a new password.

     

    Now, enter:

     

    sync

    reboot

     

    and the machine will reboot. The admin password should now be changed.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    You need the install disk that came with the computer, the Snow Leopard disk.  Restart from that disk holding the C key.  Select utilities, then select Reset Password...you will then be able to choose the user whose password you want to reset.

     

    Sorry about the passing of your mother, best of luck getting the computer straightened out.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,015 points)

    Try this:

     

    1. Boot to Safe Mode by restarting and after the chime press and hold down

          the COMMAND-S keys until a black screen with white type appears.

     

      2. At the prompt, type the following commands pressing return after each

          command line:

     

         /sbin/fsck -yf

     

         If you do not receive a "Filesystem OK" message then repeat this command

         until you do.  If after seven tries you still do not receive a "Filesystem OK"

         message, then the system is corrupted and needs to be reinstalled.

     

         mount -uw /

         mv ../.AppleSetupDone ../.AppleSetupDone.bak

         shutdown -r now

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    If you do not have the install disk, you can call Apple support and order a replacement install disk if you have the serial number of the computer...easiest to get of you can login, but may mean searching sales record if that is available in documents your mother left.

     

    You can also go to the Apple on-line store and order a Snow Leopard retail version for $20 and boot from that.

     

    You could also follow the last part of what Kappy posted, the part following Reset Admin Password Using the Terminal, but you need the admin user name to do that.  So you need a way to login.

     

    Which comes down to, do you have information on the computer and how it was setup, such as record of the serial number, user names, especially the admin user name?

     

    Since you sound like you are not unfamiliar with Macs, are you comfortable with following those instructions on resetting via Terminal commands? 

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