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HT1274: OS X: Changing or resetting an account password (Snow Leopard and earlier)

Learn about OS X: Changing or resetting an account password (Snow Leopard and earlier)

HT1274 what do you do if you forget the administrator password!?

554 Views 1 Reply Latest reply: Jun 6, 2013 2:57 PM by Kappy RSS
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Jun 6, 2013 2:54 PM

I recently bought a macbook mid 2008 second hand and set my administrator password to my normal password. But now for some reason my log in info is incorrect and I can't make any administrative changes. What should I do if I can't remember my password!? Is there some way to reset it without administrator access? Thank you for your help.

MacBook (13-inch Mid 2007), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,085 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 and running 10.5 or earlier:

     

    (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.

     

    Another Terminal Method for Snow Leopard

     

    Reboot the computer and hold the COMMAND and S keys down to enter single user mode. (If a lock appears and a password request, there is a firmware password. You have to know it or take it to Apple.)

     

    When the prompt appears type the following command lines pressing RETURN after each:

     

        fsck -fy

         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 /  

         ls /Users

         passwd username

     

    Enter the new password twice. It will not be echoed.

     

    If this works then you will have to make modifications to your Keychain. See:

     

    https://support.apple.com/kb/HT1631

    https://support.apple.com/kb/TS1544

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