Forgot password. Recover without reinstall.

Discussion in 'OS X' started by kenn, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    #1
    Forgetting passwords is such a common occurence. Is there a way in OS X Leopard to avoid a complete re-install of the operating system in order to recover. Maybe a small-size tool for that kind of situation?
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Missouri
    #2
    Resetting the original administrator account password

    Follow these steps to reset a password when there is only one administrator account on the computer, or if the original administrator account (of several) needs a password reset. "Original" administrator account refers to the one that was created immediately after installing Mac OS X. If the original administrator password is known, the original administrator user may reset the passwords of other administrator accounts using the steps described above.

    1. Start up from a Mac OS X Install CD (one whose version is closest the the version of Mac OS X installed). You should first disable Open Firmware password protection, if it is enabled. Hold the C key as the computer starts.
    2. Choose Reset Password from the Installer menu (or Utilities menu in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger). Tip: If you don't see this menu or menu choice, you're probably not started from the CD yet.
    3. Select your Mac OS X hard disk volume.
    4. Set the user name of your original administrator account.

    Important: Do not select "System Administrator (root)". This is actually a reference to the root user. Do not confuse it with a normal administrator account.

    5. Enter a new password.
    6. Click Save.
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Location:
    High Desert, CA
    #3
    Wow! I had a similar problem this morning. Many thanks for your post! It worked.

    One more quick question: what's the difference between the "System Administrator (root)" and the original administrator, me?? What would happen if the System Administrator pw was changed instead?

    Just curious! :D
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Missouri
    #4
    The root user has absolute unlimited access to UNIX systems.

    Do NOT mess with the root.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    #5
    Recover without install OS CD/DVD

    Thanks for useful answers! If I can take it one step further. Say, I don't have a Mac OS X Install CD/DVD at hand. Am I lost then or are there clever methods to handle such a situation? (In my circles it has happened more than once on business trips with employes.)
     
  6. Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Missouri
    #6
    For security reasons, I don't think it is possible without the disc.

    However, you could set up a separate admin account, and use that to login and change one of the user passwords.
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #7
    Not sure if I'm breaking forum policy by posting a link to another site, but here goes: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20080414140636495

    Has instructions for resetting a user password in single user mode, without requiring install discs. As with resetting a user password however, it does NOT touch the "login" Keychain password.
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Madison
    #8
    I remember there was something like this in panther as well, and according to the link, all the way back to 10.0. Interesting.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    #9
    Tried it yesterday on Mac OS X leopard 10.5.5. Didn't work!
     

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