My friend's MacBook is password protected. What are her options?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Kendo, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    She owns either a 2007 or 2008 MacBook that her ex-boyfriend gave to her but it needs a password. Due to obvious reasons, she doesn't want to reach back out to him (even though it was a gift, it would be awkward she says).

    I suggested she purchase a Snow Leopard disc from Apple so she could reformat the MacBook. She doesn't have the original install disc.

    1) Would this work or do you need the password even to get into the boot menu?

    2) Will the Snow Leopard disc allow a clean install or do we need to buy a Leopard disc, install it, and then buy a Snow Leopard disc?

    3) Her Macbook is either a 2007 or 2008 model. Would Snow Leopard run okay on a Mac this old?
  2. alexreich macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Not necessary to buy OS disc if you just want into the machine.

    Steps to get into MacBook:

    1. Boot Machine
    2. Hold the Command+S keys simultaneously immediately after pressing Power button.
    3. Once you receive a Terminal prompt, type 'sudo passwd (username on computer). Press Enter.

    Example: If the account on the computer is 'James', type 'sudo passwd James'

    4. Type new password for said account. Press Enter.
    5. Confirm by typing the password again. Press Enter.
    6. Type 'exit'. Press Enter.

    Machine will boot into OS X. Log in, and use machine as usual.

    Hope that works for you.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, SL will run on her MacBook. No, you don't need the admin password to boot from the SL disc and reformat/reinstall.
  4. Kendo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    I appreciate your help. Thanks.

    Is it really this easy to break into? I own a MacBook Air with OS X Lion that I have password protected and this is a little disconcerting. Unless it only works with older MacBooks?
  5. tjb1 macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2010
    Pennsylvania, USA
    A firmware password should block that.
  6. Tearabite macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2009
    Pretty much any computer in your possession is easy to break into. "if you can touch it, you p0wn it"...
  7. alexreich, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011

    alexreich macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2011
    Almost every average person's Mac is exploitable in that manner. Most people don't even know you can get into someone's machine that easily, so they don't think to block/disable it. All you need to do is Encrypt your disk(s) with a boot-level password or FileVault and you'll be safe from computer thieves that would try and steal your data after stealing your computer.

    By the way, people can only get into a machine that way if they are physically at the computer. No online threat there, so don't worry about security. Just encrypt your disk, lock your doors at night/when you're not home (or keep a close eye on your machine if you take it with you places) and you'll be fine :)

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