10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2014 8:17 AM by Jcbrava
alison1212 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



I used migration assistant to go from my old Macbook (10.5) to a macbook air (mavericks).  I migrated from a time machine backup on an external drive using a usb hookup.  Prior to this the new computer seemed to be working fine, it had only the OS installed at that point.  The migration seemed to work fine except for one error message, "networking data could not be transferred".  Now all I can bring up on the new book is a screen with the logo, my admin account (complete with my original profile picture), a guest account, and the charging info at the top right screen.  I can't log in to my account because it won't recognize my password, and I can't log in as a guest because that asks for a password too.  help?  Thanks so much for any advice!



  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (158,735 points)

    You made the mistake of migrating the Guest account from the old system. That always causes problems. The best option would be to start over by erasing the startup volume in Recovery, reinstalling OS X, and then transferring the data again in Setup Assistant (not including the guest account.)


    If you don't want to do that, see below.

    If the user account is associated with an Apple ID, and you know the Apple ID password, then maybe the Apple ID can be used to reset your user account password.

    Otherwise*, boot into Recovery mode. When the OS X Utilities screen appears, select

    Utilities Terminal

    from the menu bar. In the window that opens, type this:


    Press the tab key. The partial command you typed will automatically be completed to this:


    Press return. A Reset Password window opens. Close the Terminal window to get it out of the way.

    Select your boot volume ("Macintosh HD," unless you gave it a different name) if not already selected.

    Select your username from the menu labeled Select the user account if not already selected.

    Follow the prompts to reset the password. It's safest to choose a password that includes only the characters a-z, A-Z, and 0-9.



    from the menu bar.

    You should now be able to log in with the new password, but your Keychain will be reset (empty.) If you've forgotten the Keychain password (which is ordinarily the same as your login password), there's no way to recover it.

    *Note: If you've activated FileVault, this procedure doesn't apply. Follow instead these instructions.

  • alison1212 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Whew, lots of info and very little experience on my end!  And also, thank you so much for the reply!


    I was gifted the new machine as a hand-me-down with mavericks installed.  I have no way to re-install the OS.


    I tried the CMD+R trick, but all I got was a blank screen with one window offering four options.  None of them were "utilites" with any options for "terminal".  The closest one was "disk utility" which seemed to be about wiping the hard drive? 


    I looked at the Apple ID option.  I actually have no idea if the user account that migrated from the old computer had an apple ID, but I think it did.  I wasn't given the option of using this no matter how many "incorrect" passwords I tried.  The instructions said

    "Note: In some cases, you may not be presented with the opportunity to reset the password after three incorrect attempts. If this happens, open Users & Groups preferences, remove the affected Apple ID, and then add the same Apple ID back."

    I don't know how to open any preferences when I can't get past the log in screen. 


    I should clarify that I know the password to the user account that migrated from the old machine, and it still works on the old machine, but the new machine won't accept it.  During the migration there was an option to replace the new user account I'd set up on the new machine with the old account from the old machine and I agreed to that.  I don't recall any options about guest accounts and I don't think the old machine had any guest accounts actually set up on it so that's a mystery to me. 


    I hope this is making some sense, and I'm sorry to be so lost with all of this!





  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (158,735 points)

    The first thing you should do with a second-hand computer is to erase the internal drive and install a clean copy of OS X. How you do that depends on the model. Look it up on this page to see what version was originally installed.

    If the machine shipped with OS X 10.4 or 10.5, you need a boxed and shrink-wrapped retail Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) installation disc, which you can get from the Apple Store or a reputable reseller — not from eBay or anything of the kind. If the machine has less than 1 GB of memory, you'll need to add more in order to install 10.6. I suggest you install as much memory as it can take, according to the technical specifications.

    If the machine shipped with OS X 10.6, you need the installation media that came with it: gray installation discs, or a USB flash drive for some MacBook Air models. If you don't have the media, order replacements from Apple. A retail disc, or the gray discs from another model, will not work.

    To boot from an optical disc or a flash drive, insert it, then reboot and hold down the C key at the startup chime. Release the key when you see the gray Apple logo on the screen.

    If the machine shipped with OS X 10.7 or later, you don't need media. It should boot into Internet Recovery mode when you hold down the key combination option-command-R at the startup chime. Release the keys when you see a spinning globe.

    Once booted from the disc or in Internet Recovery, launch Disk Utility and select the icon of the internal drive — not any of the volume icons nested beneath it. In the Partition tab, select the default options: a GUID partition table with one data volume in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. This operation will permanently remove all existing data on the drive, which is what you should do.

    After partitioning, quit Disk Utility and run the OS X Installer. When the installation is done, the system will automatically reboot into the Setup Assistant, which will prompt you to transfer the data from another Mac, its backups, or from a Windows computer. If you have any data to transfer, this is usually the best time to do it.

    You should then run Software Update and install all available system updates from Apple. If you want to upgrade to a major version of OS X newer than 10.6, get it from the Mac App Store. Note that you can't keep an upgraded version that was installed by the previous owner. He or she can't legally transfer it to you, and without the Apple ID you won't be able to update it in Software Update or reinstall, if that becomes necessary. The same goes for any App Store products that the previous owner installed — you have to repurchase them.

    If the previous owner "accepted" the bundled iLife applications (iPhoto, iMovie, and Garage Band) in the App Store so that he or she could update them, then they're linked to that Apple ID and you won't be able to download them without buying them. Reportedly, Apple customer service has sometimes issued redemption codes for these apps to second owners who asked.

    If the previous owner didn't deauthorize the computer in the iTunes Store under his Apple ID, you wont be able toauthorize it under your ID. In that case, contact iTunes Support.

  • alison1212 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I think erasing the hard drive and re-installing the OS is what my brother in law already did (he's since left for another state), then he downloaded maverick.  I have no idea what software the machine shipped with, but hopefully he can tell me.  It has no disk drive, so installing that way is out.  I can't bring up the machine info at this point, obviously, but I think it had 4 gig of memory so that should be fine. 


    So, it sounds like the next thing I need to do is find out what software it shipped with.  What you're describing about the internet recovery mode sounds somewhat similar to what I encountered, but I'll wait to try again until I know for sure what the software situation is.


    Thanks so much for the help, I'll report back when I get further!



  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (158,735 points)

    So, it sounds like the next thing I need to do is find out what software it shipped with.


    I explained how to do that in my last comment.

  • alison1212 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm not sure what year the machine is, so I'm not sure of the original OS.  I tried to work it out from the location of the serial # (which I will need if I have to get replacement discs anyway, I assume), but the markings on the back don't really correspond with anything here:  www.http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1941 so I'm not able to identify the serial #.  Obviously, the "about this mac" option is out.  Not sure if I can assume that the copyright date (2010) is the date of the computer.  I'm a bit leery of making assumptions at this point, I'm already in enough trouble! 

  • alison1212 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm in!  The recovery mode solution finally worked, I have no idea what I was doing wrong last night.  I now have the computer working, the serial #, and re-install discs on the way. 


    Thanks for your patience and great advice!!



  • Connor220 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)


  • terme35 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Linc,


    perhaps you can help me too.


    Bought a mac air - there is no disk with it. Worked fine, with my simple lock screen password. Then I changed password for my ID in iClaud. When I went to open my computer again, my previous screen lock password was not accepted (is the screen password the same on as in the iClaud, iTune, etc?)


    Then i tried to put in the new iClaud password but it does not accept either.


    So I am stack. I tried to reboot with command + S or R but nothing happens. I cannot switch it off beacuse it ask for the administrator ID (who is the administrator?) + a password. Again would the administrator password be the same as in the iClaud or is a different one?


    hoe infurating!


    tahnks if you can help

  • Jcbrava Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello, Linc,


    I could not see how to start a new question, so forgive me for "interrupting" with a similar but different problem. 


    I have a 2011 MacBook Air, OS X 10.7.5 and have been very happy with it.  Suddenly, though, when trying to approve installation of an Adobe update, I typed in my Admin password and it was rejected.  I was given a hint, which fit the password I was inserting.  I made sure caps lock was off and that I was using the correct keyboard.  I never got a message saying use Apple ID to access this computer.  It was continually rejected.


    Then I tried the Users&Groups method to get in, but my only options there are Change Password (which I can't do because it doesn't take the password) or Change my Apple ID, open Address Book Card or Parental Controls. 


    Janet O'Donovan