iMac FW lock, no recovery partition

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Guyton, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. Guyton macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    #1
    Hey guys, I need some help.

    I'm a PC tech, not a Macintosh tech, but I can figure things out.
    My friend has a 27" iMac and we're trying to fix it.

    He updated it to Yosemite but realized he wanted to go back to Mavericks. Now, I'm a little vague on what he did, since I only came into the picture once he was having issues. I think what he did is he had a time machine backup, and he restored it. I think that gave him issues, and somewhere along the way he partitioned the drive or deleted some partitions (he was also running bootcamp with a Win7 installation)

    Now, when you turn on the iMac, the screen turns on and is grey, there's no chime sound, and the screen goes black. I've tried to boot from a burnt OS dvd by holding the C key down, but it won't boot... not sure if the dvd is badly burnt, don't have an original.

    When you hold down the options key upon boot up, a lock shows up. He doesn't remember the password! Form what I've read, that's a firmware password?

    Now, I've read that you can clear that password by booting into your recovery partition, but I think he deleted his recovery partition when he was playing with the time machine / bootcamp Windows 7.

    I've pulled out the hdd, and the iMac turns on, but I get a folder with a question mark flashing - probably because it can't find anything to boot from. I'm pretty sure it's not a hardware issue, but an OS issue.

    I'm running out of ideas. I don't have another Mac and I don't have original media to install from.
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Is it like this?

    [​IMG]

    If it is, that is an EFI (firmware) password. If it is an older Mac, you can remove a memory chip to reset it. If it is a newer (2011+) system, that will not reset the password and you will need to take it Apple with proof of ownership so they can reset it. Here is an article about it.
     
  3. Guyton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    #3
    Thanks for the reply!

    Hi Weaselboy,

    Is there a way I can reinstall the OS with this lock on there?

    He just wants a functional Mac again. Problem is we live VERY far from a Apple store - they're pretty sparse up here in Canada.

    If we could just get Mavericks installed again, that would be great...

    Guy
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Nope... you are kinda sunk. That EFI lock stops you from booting from other boot drives, which you will need to do to get the drive formatted and the OS reinstalled.
     
  5. Guyton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    #5
    Ok, what if

    What if I took the HDD out of the Mac and put it into another Mac?

    I think I can get my hands on a Macbook. Can I hook up the iMac's HDD to the Macbook via a USB/SATA dongle and find a way to install OSX to the external USB drive?

    I'm thinking, if I can use another Mac to install the OSX on the iMac's HDD, will the iMac then boot from the it's HDD when I put it back in?

    I already have the iMac open and had the HDD out already...

    What do you think? What would I need if this is possible?

    Guyton
     
  6. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #6
    You need to read that article that is linked, it has the info you are after. Basically your friend is SOL unless he remembers his password, after all that's the point of a password.
     
  7. Guyton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    #7
    Bah...

    I've also read that Apple can take the hash from the lock screen and give you a file that will bypass that lock.

    Since we're so far away from a Apple store, would they do this through other channels like chat or email support?

    The iMac isn't stolen, it's his. He just installed Yosemite and thought it was $#!t... now his iMac is broken...??? a nice expensive paper weight. I hope they will help via chat or email because it'll be an expensive long drive to get it fixed.

    Thanks for the info! Just sucks there's nothing else to do...
     
  8. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #8
    Did you read the article? It's pretty clear that Apple won't give you the key, you have to take it in.
     
  9. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    If the machine is legit, then why waste time asking more questions here? You have the solution, just call Apple on the the phone and get their definitive guidance on the matter. Please report back, very interested in the outcome.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    None of that will work. With an EFI password set, the machine will not boot from any device other than the one already set. So this blocks any of the recovery methods you mentioned.

    The hash method you mentioned is how Apple recovers the key, but as others here mentioned, they won't do it remotely. They will want hands on the machine with the owner there.
     
  11. Guyton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    #11
    Got 'er done

    Well, luckily for me the iMac was pre 2011, so I just removed a stick of RAM, cleared the PRAM and I was good to go!

    This is what I did, luckily it was an older iMac.

    shut down your computer;
    remove the power cord;
    remove one RAM module;
    plug the power cord;
    start the computer when pressing cmd + alt + P + R (all at the same time);
    the Mac will make the boot sound, thrice;
    release the keys and let the computer boot—the EFI should now be reset;
    shut down, remove the cord, put the RAM back, plug the cord and voilà!

    Now installing Mavericks... :)
     
  12. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #12
    A happy ending... I was a bit suspicious of someone going to all the effort of using a FW password and then forgetting it...
     

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