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LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

I have a Mac Pro G5 Power PC. It was bought used, and the Admin (original owner) does not know what the password is. If I use the OSX 5.8 install and startup disc, will I lose all my files already on the computer? I need the Admin password to update software such as iTunes, Java, etc.  Any help is greatly appreciated!

MacBook Pro
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,691 points)

    If you boot to the Installer/Utilities DVD, but do not install...


    ... and wait a quarter minute for the MenuBar to be drawn, you can select Reset password form one of the Menus.


    It is assumed that, since you have a Installer/Utilities DVD and physical access to the computer, you can reset any password.


    And no, nothing will be lost, just the passwords reset.

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    So it will give you the option to either "boot to the Installer/Utilities DVD" or "install" the software, so that I won't accidentally lose any files?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,691 points)

    Answer only the "what language" question, if presented, and wait a quarter minute for the menuBar to be drawn. Then choose the options you wnat from the Menus.


    Simply do not Continue down the Install path -- you have multiple places to abort if you choose that path by mistake.

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    Great. Thank you so much!

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    So I have a PowerMac G5, and I have to have the password to be able to update: AirPort Utility, Java, iTunes, and Migration Assistant. It doesn't require the password on login, so I can still use the computer, just need thses updates. If I boot the OS X install disk, but do not install it, I will not lose any files, correct?  I just want to confirm and make sure before I do anything I might regret...

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,691 points)

    The Mac has the most approachable, easy to use Interface of any computer available. If you want to wipe out files, you have to work at doing exactly that. Barring massive Hardware failure, it will not happen by accident or as a side effect of a seemingly-unrelated procedure.


    There is no simple ¿ Are you sure ? message -- instead, there are messages that spell out exactly what the consequences of an intended action will be, such as "This will erase all files on this disk. Are you sure you want to proceed?


    At every turn, possibly-unintended consequences are spelled out.


    Apple takes tremendous pains to have uniform usage of terms throughout their documentation. For example, the term "Clean Install" was decided to be too vague, so both the procedure and the term were eliminated. They were replaced with several different methods, with slightly more steps, that made completely clear what was being erased and replaced in the process.




    Resetting the Admin password does not erase anything. It does only what is says. It changes the Administrator password to the one you specify, and you cannot revert back to the previous password, even if you knew it. You can reset it again and again using the same procedure. Only the old password (which you don't know anyway) will be lost.

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    This has been very helpful.  Thank you SO MUCH!!!

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    So can I use this: ?. Sorry, can't get the hyperlink to work.  Can I use the download directly from Apple to reset the password, or do I have to have the physical disc?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,691 points)

    You MUST have the Physical disc, otherwise any 10-year old could do it.

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    I have bought the install disc, but I cannot get it to boot.  Wen I insert it into the CD drive, it doesn't show up under Finder. Any suggestions on how to boot the disc another way?

  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)

    And if you hold 'c' on startup what happens? helps to have mouse and keyboard (USB cable) directly connected.


    The option key also.


    Liink to or exactly what disc you bought. Hopefully not an OEM DVD or CD for a specific Mac model which you can find beng sold but are not retail universal Mac OS X DVDs.


    I would clone your system. ESPECIALLY when or if you lack a proper install DVD.

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    If I boot up the MAC with the C key held down, and boot it that way, will I lose any files?  It is very important that I only reset the password.

  • LCovington Level 1 (10 points)

    And when I turn the Mac on, does the install disc need to be in the drive already, or insert it later?

  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)

    You can't lose anything just by booting and if it isn't in the tray, it can't do anything!


    You can hold  "mouse down" during boot to cause the tray to slide open in order to pause and insert the CD/DVD at that point - you would then need to select it as the boot volume on the screen (Mac does have boot selector).


    You did read what Grant said about what to do and how.


    Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck -

    Using Disk Utility in Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later -

    Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions 10.0-10.6 -

    "Try Disk Utility" (modified from


    1. Insert the Mac OS X Install disc that came with your computer (Edit: Do not use this disc if it is not the same general version as what you have currently on your computer, e.g. use a Tiger disc for a Tiger drive, not a Panther disc), then restart the computer while holding the C key.
    2. When your computer finishes starting up from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Installer menu. (In Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you must select your language first.)
    Important: Do not click Continue in the first screen of the Installer. If you do, you must restart from the disc again to access Disk Utility.
    3. Click the First Aid tab.
    4. Click the disclosure triangle to the left of the hard drive icon to display the names of your hard disk volumes and partitions.
    5. Select your Mac OS X volume.
    6. Click Repair. Disk Utility checks and repairs the disk."


    Then boot in Safe Mode, (holding Shift key down at bootup; takes longer to boot this way so be patient), run Disk Utility in Applications>Utilities, then highlight your drive, click on Repair Permissions, reboot when it completes.

    Mac OS X: Starting up in Safe Mode -

    What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode? (Mac OS X) -

    Safe Boot takes longer than normal startup -

    Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5- Computer shuts down during Safe Boot -

    If you don't have an installer disc available you can try effecting repairs using fsk in Single User Mode -

    Post by japamac about using fsk -

    Repairing permissions in Single User Mode -



    Mac Running Slow: General Tips & Advice (Kappy)

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