Need help unlocking a macbook - Boots to Windows only

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by wellspun, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. wellspun macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    I have a Dual Core Macbook (13"), and it's booting to Windows. I have the Windows p/w. Unfortunately, I do NOT have the OSX p/w. I've tried a few things, and so far nothing is working out for me. I've tried to boot to DVD, and it ejects the DVD, then boots to Windows. I've tried CNTL-S to attempt to boot to Terminal, no luck, it boots to Windows. Obviously when I hit alt and boot to OSX directly, I get stuck on the p/w screen. I feel like I'm going in circles.

    The next attempt will be to boot from an external HD, and see if I can get around the OSX p/w via fresh install. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    I take it the C key didnt work to boot the DVD?

    Hit option with the DVD inserted, it should appear there alongside your windows and Mac partition.

    Also, you should be able to select OS X as your startup disk in the startup disk control panel in Windows.
  3. wellspun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    It will let me boot to OSX, but once I'm there, I don't have the password. I only have the Windows p/w. When I boot holding the "alt" button, it only gives the option of OSX or Windows.
  4. johto macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    Why dont you have the OSX password? Who's computer have you stolen?
    Why dont you just reinstall it from scratch? You do have a OSX installation media(DVD/usb stick etc) ? If not, why? Again, from who have you stolen the machine? :cool:
  5. wellspun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    I have the Windows password, but don't have the OSX password, as I mentioned. The computer is not stolen. Unfortunately your post didn't help even a little bit, so hopefully other people with knowledge will add to this thread.

    I've tried to boot from DVD, tried to CNTL-S and get to terminal, and neither is working. Any help from someone who can actually add to the conversation would be greatly appreciated.
  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    CNTL-S does nothing. CMD-S is what you should hold down to boot into single-user mode.

    Which OS X version is it?

    Exactly which MacBook model? Does the DVD match that model (gray DVDs are model-specific)?
  7. wellspun, Mar 2, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013

    wellspun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    Sorry, I meant cmd-S for Terminal. I don't have the original install disc, and was trying to boot to a Snow Leopard DVD. It's a dual core 13" macbook, probably 2 or 3 years old at least. I own a pawnshop and someone pawned it and didn't pick it up. Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch about it being stolen, the guy had the Windows p/w, and has pictures of himself all over this thing. My employee just failed to get the OSX password, thinking the Windows p/w was enough.

    I need to find a work-around for it booting to Windows, or find a way to bypass the OSX password. Normally I just boot to Terminal and add a new Admin.
  8. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    No password. No original disk. something smells fishy imho.
  9. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    You'll have to be more specific. Is it a retail Snow Leopard DVD, with a picture of a Snow Leopard on it? Or is it a gray DVD with the words "Snow Leopard" on it? Or is it something else?

    Exactly which version of the OS is on the DVD?

    That's not specific enough, either.

    There should be a model number or serial number printed on the bottom of the case somewhere. Find that, then look it up at a place like:

    Also see:
    especially the list of "How to identify" links at the end,

    Then see:

    You may need to buy the original disks that shipped with the computer (assuming Apple still has them available).

    If the DVD drive is malfunctioning, then it won't matter what disc you put in, it will still fail. You should be able to test that in Windows, I suspect.
  10. wellspun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    Thanks for the info. So basically, the only way to get around this problem is to boot to DVD (hopefully that will work) and reinstall OSX, right? I was hoping for a work-around that would let me boot into Terminal somehow, but that doesn't seem to be working out. Thanks to the people posting useful information (as opposed to the people posting about "something fishy" and "stolen" computers...geez).
  11. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    The gist of it is simple: you have to boot to a working OS X system of some kind. It needs to be an OS version that the specific computer model can actually run. For example, most recent MacBook Pro's can't run Snow Leopard, so if all you have is Snow Leopard, you're still out in the cold when it comes to those newer models.

    Whether the OS X system is on a DVD or an external drive isn't too important. Once booted, you'd use Disk Utility to completely erase (i.e. repartition) the internal HD. Then you'd have to install the OS on the internal HD again.

    If there's data you wanted to read from the internal HD, you'd have to get that before erasing, and store it somewhere safe. If the data is encrypted by File Vault, then you still won't be able to read it unless you know the File Vault password.

    None of what I've posted is really a recipe for wiping stolen computers. It's the same procedure you'd have to use if your hard drive completely died, and you had no backups and no original DVDs. The only difference is that if your HD died, Step 1 would be to replace it. After that, all the steps would be the same.

    Note that newer models can reinstall the OS over a high speed internet connection. The only thing preventing that would be a Firmware Password, which one can google for more info.
  12. Drew017 macrumors 65816


    May 29, 2011
    East coast, USA
    They're just trying to understand why you don't have the password… and imho it seems a little fishy because you won't say…


    Maybe you should get an external disk drive if your internal optical drive isn't working, then try to use the disk to wipe the HD and install.
  13. wellspun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    Tried to explain it as plainly as possible.

    Thanks to everyone who posted tips on getting around this. I have yet to find the correct disc for this computer, but I think I have one at the house.

    Does it need to be a disc specifically for this computer, or can I just switch out the hard drive and reinstall from a regular install disc? I'm guessing that this computer was originally sold with Leopard. Gonna try to boot from an external as well and see if that works.
  14. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I dont understand why it wont boot into single user mode using Option + S

    then you can use the single user mode to reset the .AppleSetupDone file, which when you reboot will take you through the setup progress, where you can create a new admin account, and then use that to delete all the other accounts and do everything else you need to.

    I did it just the other night on a Mac Pro :D
  15. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    If the version of Snow Leopard on the DVD is later than the date your computer was released, it will probably be able to install on that computer. No one really knows unless you try it, or you look up the exact computer model and determine its Snow Leopard compatibility using one of the links I previously posted.

    I already asked what kind of DVD you were trying to start from, but you haven't posted an answer. If it's gray, it's model-specific. If it's retail, it's not. However, if the computer was first released after the retail Snow Leopard you have, then it may not work.

    There are at least two possible reasons why you couldn't boot from the Snow Leopard DVD:
    1. It's incompatible (solution: see above).
    2. The DVD drive is malfunctioning.

    If the DVD drive is at fault, you should be able to confirm this under Windows (again, as I previously noted). Or you can plug in an external drive via USB and see if that works.

    If the DVD drive isn't working, then even the correct DVDs for the computer won't work.

    You can find out exactly what it shipped with by looking up the model number or serial number and referring to one the links I posted above.
  16. wellspun thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2013
    Well, finally got it handled. Used a Macbook install disc, and even tho the disc was incorrect, it let me use Utilities to specify the start-up drive. Once I was able to change the start-up to OSX, I got into Terminal and handled it. Thanks again for the assistance.

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