14 Replies Latest reply: Jan 19, 2013 11:33 AM by mertn
mertn Level 1 (0 points)

I forgot my mac password so can't update software, etc. Everything I've read says to reboot with the install disk and holding down "C", but that has no effect. I've also tried holding down "alt" and holding down "command" and "s" per some other ideas but nothing works. It just reboots as normal so there's no opportunity to access whatever special menu they keep talking about.


iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • sanjampet Level 5 (7,760 points)

    After the C boot, click next past language, the click utililities, reset password. Make sure to set new keychain.

     

    Hope this helps.

     

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1274

  • mertn Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the response, but no, that doesn't help. "the C boot" doesn't work. There's no difference for me between booting with the C key held down or not doing that. It always just boots up as normal.

  • Gracie8 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm having the same trouble.  Did you solve yours? 

  • sanjampet Level 5 (7,760 points)

    Maybe some help here:

     

     

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1274

     

     

    Hope this helps.

  • mertn Level 1 (0 points)

    Arg! That included some new instructions that sounded so promising; but no dice. Specifically it gave me these other 2 options: "Or, put it in the computer and click the Install or Restore icon you see in the disc's main window (after which the computer will start from the disc without you needing to hold C). Or, you can use Startup Manager or the Startup Disk preference pane to select the Install disc."

    But neither works. First of all there's no "Install or Restore" icon. Just picking "install" takes me to a workflow which, surprise, requires the password. And following the instructions for the "startup manager" entails rebooting with the option key held down, which has no effect. It's exactly the same as restarting without the option key held down.

  • Alan Bishop2 Level 2 (385 points)

    Hi,

     

    Just a thought. Are you using a wireless keyboard with your imac. If you are see if you can borrow a USB keyboard and plug it in and then try that holding down C when you start or restart your computer.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Alan

  • noondaywitch Level 6 (8,135 points)

    Good thinking, Alan.

     

    mertn - if it is a wireless keyboard, don't hold down the keys until the startup tone sounds (bluetooth is not available until then).

  • mertn Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, but unfortunately that's not it. The keyboard is plugged directly into the usb port on the back of the imac.

  • baltwo Level 9 (62,215 points)

    Zap the PRAM and Reset the SMC, then try using the Startup Disk prefPane to boot with the install disc.

  • mertn Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the suggestions. I tried that but it's not helping either. Zapping the PRAM turns out to rely on the same assumption as all the other troubleshooting suggestions I've seen: namely that you can make something special happen at reboot by holding down a combination of keys on the keyboard. But that's not working for me. I'm wondering if it's a hardware problem. Any ideas how to determine if that's the case?

     

    Thanks again,

     

    m.

  • edex67 Level 4 (3,250 points)

    Try holding down Cmd-S to boot into single user mode, then type the following commands:

    • fsck -fy
    • mount -uw /
    • passwd <shortusername>
  • mertn Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok, to confirm you're suggesting that I reboot and during reboot hold down Cmd and "s", right? I tried that but as far as I can tell nothing is different about how it's rebooting (just like every other attempt to change the reboot behavior by holding down various key combinations). At any rate, I went ahead and tried that and then tried entering those commands at a prompt in a terminal window. That command prompts me for the current password, which I don't know. If I knew that I wouldn't need to reset it.

  • edex67 Level 4 (3,250 points)

    Yes, hold down Cmd-S. Then it *should* boot into a text only mode, it shouldn't boot like an ordinary machine. It seems that that key combo doesn't work either. Can you use another, Mac compatible keyboard?

  • mertn Level 1 (0 points)

    Aha! Swapping the keyboard did help. I can now do the C reboot trick. I tried following the instructions to reset the admin password which didn't quite work as described, but I eventually got it to work. Here's some info on what I learned which may be helpful to others:

     

    The instructions told me to boot with install disk 1 and then choose my hard drive when I got to the 'reset password' step. That didn't work because I couldn't choose my hard drive at that point. The only option was to try to reset the root password on the install disk itself, which wasn't possible.

     

    Eventually I switched to booting with the Snow Leopard install disk instead and that worked. I was able to reset the admin password, but then got prompted to reset the "keychain password", which I couldn't do without knowing the old password. But it didn't seem to matter and I just reset the keychain.

     

    Hooray, I can finally update software and get some long overdue security updates.Thanks to everyone for your help here.

     

    m.