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How to reset the password on a PowerBook 1400c.

517 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 26, 2013 4:51 PM by Allan Jones RSS
JonathanNM Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Jul 20, 2013 3:58 PM

I recently inherited an old powerbook 1400c from a relative which passed, and am trying to reset the password in order to use the machine.  I know that I could purchase the original os floppies, however I am not so keen on the $60+ I would spend to do so.  If there is any suggestions or ways that I could possibly do so, thank you in advance. 


Just for the record, I'm not new to macs per say, I've been using multiple macs for about a year and a half now, and am a registered IT for windows PCs (which, who isn't?).


Again, thanks in advance!



PowerBook, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, OS 7
  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,355 points)
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    Jul 25, 2013 6:52 AM (in response to JonathanNM)
  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,575 points)
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    Jul 25, 2013 7:44 AM (in response to JonathanNM)



    You are running OS 7 so the links above probably won't apply. When a friend was given a used PowerBook running a pre-OSX system that was password-protected, I removed the PB drive and connected it to a newer Mac via a USB bare drive adaptor.


    From the newer Mac with the PowerBook's hard drive mounted, I went to the PBs preference files and deleted those having to do with security (labels were clear enough). When I reinstalled the drive in the Powerbook it was no longer asking for a password.


    When the drive was not the boot volume, the files were accessible.


    Bare drive adaptor:



    The PowerBook 1400 has an ATA2 hard drive interface so this adaptor should work fine.


    EDIT: I don't have a Mac currently running OS7 set up with ready access, but I do have a PowerMac 7600/132 running OS 8.6 that is in service. I believe the pref files names are similar, so I'll look at that computer later today and see what pref fles to target.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,575 points)
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    Jul 25, 2013 9:41 PM (in response to JonathanNM)

    Today went to the dogs! Two appontments ran long and I did not have time to get to my collection of geriatric Macs. JHopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (29,575 points)
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    Jul 26, 2013 4:51 PM (in response to JonathanNM)

    I finally fired up the old 7600 running OS 8.6 and, because it has a fairly fresh install, there's not much in the pref file. However, i did find one thing to try.


    In the path MacIntosh HD > System > Preferences, the last entry is likely "Users and Groups prefs." The only security I can find in control panels is in Users and Groups, and there you set up sharing with a password. Deleting the Users and Groups pref should take out any sharing password that has been set.


    However, 8.6 doesn't have the muliti-user structure of OS9, so it's not being as obvious as was the old notebook I was able to wake up.


    See if a pref with a name similar to "network log-in" is present. If so, delete it. IF teh computer wereonce on a scholl or coroporate network, that could be at play


    Another thought. Some OS7 versions, especially 7.0 and 7.1, had a different multi-user scheme called At Ease. It built custom launcher screens for each user and was set up so parrents could keep the kids out of their programs and files through a password.


    Look for any prefs that contain "At Ease" and delete them. We have one older Mac, a Performa 475 running OS7.1 that is ofline right now that had At Ease. We ended up not using it beaouse it seemed to induce instability and wanted more RAM. The computer had only 4MB RAM soldered to the logic boards and one expansion slot. The first RAM stick we bought for it in the early 90s was an 8MB sitck that cost US$260!


    I'm getting worried that you might has a third-party security package mucking up the works. If you see a preference name you think might be a security pref, post it and I can compare to the "clean" list on my 7600.


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