Locked MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by zewazir, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. zewazir macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2012
    Okay, here is a weird one. I got a MacBook off eBay to fix up for my daughter. Advertised “won’t start up”.

    I do some basics fixes and try to start up. It powers up fine, and shows blinking “?”. So far, so good. I have several working hard drives with known working systems installed. I put in one, and still get the blinking “?”. Hmmm, not recognizing any hd. Insert startup DVD. Still blinking “?”. restart holding down “C”. Still blinking “?”. Put in AHT disk, start up holding the “D” key. STILL blinking “?”.

    So, I decide to try starting up from an external. I start up holding down the option key - and got something I’ve never seen before, or even heard of. The display comes up with a padlock icon and a prompt for a password.


    Is it possible to lock down a MacBook to the point it will only recognize a certain startup disk? (which, of course, did not come with the MacBook….)

    And, of course, is there a way around this?

    (BTW: net boot also does not work… just get the ever-present “?”.)
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    It is a Firmware password, which can be reset via removing the RAM and some other steps. There are many guides around, on how to do this.
  3. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I'd agree.

    That won't let you change the boot drive (which is why you only saw it when you held down the option key).

    It does not explain why you get the '?' when booting off of the internal drive.
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    And whoever sold you the MacBook could possibly have sold you a stolen MacBook. If there's a firmware password and he did not reset it, it's likely that the reason he didn't is that it is stolen merchandise and he just wanted to fence it.
  5. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    It could be stolen.

    He could also have forgotten that it had a password.
    He could have bought it cheap and sold it for a profit.
    He could have bought it from a company that went out of business.
    He could have gotten it from a friend that said it was junk and was throwing it away.
    He could be the original owner, it died, and he didn't bother to unlock the password.
    He could ...

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