Estate sale iMac

Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
I purchased an iMac at an estate sale but the previous owner now deceased did not reset the computer. No relative knows his login or Apple ID. Did I just purchase a paperweight?
 
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Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
858
752
CA
you should be able to boot into revovery mode and do a password reset, thats probably the easiest option if not in single usermode you can create a new admin account.
either of these options you can easily google to have step by step instructions
 

Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
you should be able to boot into revovery mode and do a password reset, thats probably the easiest option if not in single usermode you can create a new admin account.
either of these options you can easily google to have step by step instructions
I have tried both of those methods and they ask for Apple ID. It is an iMac and it says it does not support single user mode when I try to login
 

Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
It is an iMac.

Apple iMac "Core i5" 3.3 27-Inch (5K, Late 2015)
 
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Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
858
752
CA
if single usermode is blocked and requires a password sounds like filevault is enabled, you should be able to completely wipe the HD and do a full resinstall of the OS. Command-Option-R
 

Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
if single usermode is blocked and requires a password sounds like filevault is enabled, you should be able to completely wipe the HD and do a full resinstall of the OS. Command-Option-R
I am trying that. It came to the Utilities screen and I have been able to install Mojave OS it may take awhile
 

Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
I was able to install Mojave but once it finished the previous owners login is still required
 
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DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,525
2,298
Delaware
You don't need to know the previous login (assuming that you mean the account, or admin password) if you just erase the drive first.
I always recommend erasing the boot drive on a used Mac, even if you know the history of that Mac.

If you boot to Internet recovery - or to a bootable USB installer, if you have one), you can just erase the internal drive (using Disk Utility), then reinstall macOS as a new user.

The stopper might be if the previous owner left a firmware password. You will get asked for a password, if you try booting to any other drive. THAT will be a problem for you.
You will know if it has a firmware password by the appearance of the password window. It will simply be a blank box, with a padlock on the left, no words on the screen.
 
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DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,525
2,298
Delaware
You can try a password reset.
Boot back to recovery mode (where you see that utility menu), then go to the Utilities menu and choose Terminal.
Type in "resetpassword" without the quotes, then press enter. The password reset window should appear.
Choose the drive and user, then type in a new password. You will be asked to type it a second time. Then, click Save.
You can quit, then restart. You will get asked for a password. Type in your new password.

However, on a used Mac. I suggest simply erasing the hard drive (using Disk Utility), then choose to reinstall the macOS system. It's all in the menus.
Then, you will have everything fresh - nothing left from the previous owner (and also nothing left that might cause you problems).
 

Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
You don't need to know the previous login (assuming that you mean the account, or admin password) if you just erase the drive first.
I always recommend erasing the boot drive on a used Mac, even if you know the history of that Mac.

If you boot to Internet recovery - or to a bootable USB installer, if you have one), you can just erase the internal drive (using Disk Utility), then reinstall macOS as a new user.

The stopper might be if the previous owner left a firmware password. You will get asked for a password, if you try booting to any other drive. THAT will be a problem for you.
You will know if it has a firmware password by the appearance of the password window. It will simply be a blank box, with a padlock on the left, no words on the screen.
So I am at the disk utility what do I do from here
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,152
5,516
VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION:

When you reinstalled the OS, did you boot into:
a. recovery mode ("command-R" at boot)
or did you boot into
b. INTERNET recovery mode ("command-OPTION-R" at boot)

???

If you are getting blindsided by previous owner logins, try this:
(and yes, I realize it will take more time)

1. Power down, all the way off
2. If you have ethernet available, I suggest you connect that way (even if you have to move the iMac for now), but if you only have wifi, that can work, too.
3. Press the power on button and IMMEDIATELY hold down command-OPTION-R until you see "the internet symbol"
4. If you're using wifi, you'll need to enter the wifi password
5. The computer will take a while to "load up" all the needed software FROM THE NET
6. When you get to the utilities menu, DO NOT run the installer yet
7. Open Disk Utility
8. In the upper-left corner, choose "Show all devices" from the popup menu.
9. You want to select the TOPMOST item that represents the ENTIRE hard drive inside the iMac.
10. Now, click the erase button. I suggest you choose "Mac OS extended with journaling enabled", GUID partition format. It will be automatically converted to APFS during the Mojave install
11. Once the drive has been erased, you can quit Disk Utility and re-open the OS installer
12. NOW try to install the OS. It may restart the Mac once or twice, and will take a while. BE PATIENT.
13. When done, you should see the setup screen (like a brand-new Mac).

This will overcome any previous passwords, with ONE EXCEPTION:
It cannot wipe out a firmware password, if the previous owner set one.

Please PRINT OUT these instructions and follow them carefully.
Then get back to us.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,152
5,516
So long as the required password IS NOT "a firmware password", you can "blow it away" by booting into INTERNET recovery mode, then erasing the ENTIRE drive and then re-installing the OS.
 
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Robajohn

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 22, 2019
7
1
VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION:

When you reinstalled the OS, did you boot into:
a. recovery mode ("command-R" at boot)
or did you boot into
b. INTERNET recovery mode ("command-OPTION-R" at boot)

???

If you are getting blindsided by previous owner logins, try this:
(and yes, I realize it will take more time)

1. Power down, all the way off
2. If you have ethernet available, I suggest you connect that way (even if you have to move the iMac for now), but if you only have wifi, that can work, too.
3. Press the power on button and IMMEDIATELY hold down command-OPTION-R until you see "the internet symbol"
4. If you're using wifi, you'll need to enter the wifi password
5. The computer will take a while to "load up" all the needed software FROM THE NET
6. When you get to the utilities menu, DO NOT run the installer yet
7. Open Disk Utility
8. In the upper-left corner, choose "Show all devices" from the popup menu.
9. You want to select the TOPMOST item that represents the ENTIRE hard drive inside the iMac.
10. Now, click the erase button. I suggest you choose "Mac OS extended with journaling enabled", GUID partition format. It will be automatically converted to APFS during the Mojave install
11. Once the drive has been erased, you can quit Disk Utility and re-open the OS installer
12. NOW try to install the OS. It may restart the Mac once or twice, and will take a while. BE PATIENT.
13. When done, you should see the setup screen (like a brand-new Mac).

This will overcome any previous passwords, with ONE EXCEPTION:
It cannot wipe out a firmware password, if the previous owner set one.

Please PRINT OUT these instructions and follow them carefully.
Then get back to us.
So long as the required password IS NOT "a firmware password", you can "blow it away" by booting into INTERNET recovery mode, then erasing the ENTIRE drive and then re-installing the OS.
thank you all so much. I have now cleaned the drive created my own account and am updating everything
 
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orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,852
379
UK
good luck with the imac, make shore to keep a copy of the password and username (not on a stiky next to the computer) and always good to have some kind of backup system that is in a safe place.