Is it possible to bypass the HDD password on an old 2008 Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by camsilla, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. camsilla macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    #1
    Hi. I am currently having some issues with having my Macbook Pro 15" late 2008 edition fixed. I was initially only experiencing issues with the screen, and was told that it would need replacing, which I proceeded with.

    On collection, the computer was not turning on. I was told that the Macbook HDD required a password, and that none of the passwords submitted worked. (Apparently, they used their own drive during the repair on the screen, which is standard procedure to protect customer's data). Now they are telling me that because they don't know the password, they cannot directly access the data on it. They say the only solution is to do a data recovery which will not be perfect as it will unlikely be able to recover file names and folders, and I will have to reinstall all applications. I have asked for a picture of the screen on turning the macbook on, to see if it will evoke my memory of a password. Apparently, it now only goes straight to recovery screen.

    I am sceptical that I am being told the truth, because I have no recollection of setting the password. I would like to know 3 things:
    1. Does the screen turn to 'Recovery Screen' after the HDD password has been entered incorrectly too many times?
    2. My Macbook Pro is from the late 2008 family: Is it possible to set HDD passwords for computers of this age?
    3. Is there any other solution than data recover? ie. Could a Mac shop recover it?
    Many Thanks, Camilla
     
  2. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    MN
    #2
    Assuming it is just a simple user account password, which would be the most likely scenario for a machine of that vintage, you should be able to get the files off fairly easily. You would need another mac from that era - you can connect them via Firewire and start your macbook in Target mode; it will appear as a drive on the other Mac's desktop and you can drag your files off of it, no password needed. Or you could pull the drive out and put it in an external USB enclosure and accomplish the same thing.
     
  3. camsilla thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    #3
    Thank you Austin. So the user account password would likely be the same as the password used during normal start up of the computer? So it should be possible to retrieve all my files exactly as they are by doing what you suggested via Firewire connection. I guess what i'm really trying to find out is if the guys fixing it is lying to me, and using this as an excuse. Your thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
     
  4. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    MN
    #4
    That would be my guess, but I can only speculate. It may depend on which version of OSX you are running. The password/theft protection options have gotten more sophisticated with newer OS's. I'm not sure what they might referring to by recovery screen, but I don't think you should ever be locked out permanently unless you specifically set things up that way.

    I'm assuming the laptop is currently at a non-"mac" repair shop? They may not be lying; they just may have no idea about Firewire. Target disk mode isn't something that is used often.

    I can't promise that this will work for you, perhaps the HD was corrupted or had other issues. But I have certainly used Target disk mode to retrieve all the files intact off a password-locked Macbook of that vintage. So I'd think that would be the first step to try; if that shop doesn't seem familiar with the process then I'd take it to someone else or just get it back and try to work it out yourself...
     
  5. camsilla thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    #5
    Thanks Austin- that's very clear, and you've been extremely helpful. I think working it out myself might well be the option!

    Camilla
     

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