Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reset OS X Password Without an OS X CD

So you and your friends have a wild party and you wake up in the morning to realize someone has changed the admin password on your beloved mac and you can no longer access your computer. No problem, you can just pop in the OS X DVD that came with your computer and reset the password....but wait, that's missing too.

Here's how to reset your OS X password without an OS X CD. You need to enter terminal and create a new admin account:
  1. Reboot
  2. Hold apple + s down after you hear the chime.
  3. When you get text prompt enter in these terminal commands to create a brand new admin account (hitting return after each line):
    • mount -uw /
    • rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    • shutdown -h now
  4. After rebooting you should have a brand new admin account. When you login as the new admin you can simply delete the old one and you're good to go again!


rich90usa said...

I'd just make sure not to pick the same shortname for the new admin account.
Don't know what that would do to the old home directory and wouldn't want to take a chance on that.

Anonymous said...

The moral of this story is to use encryption.

Anonymous said...

This approach is a bit "slash & burn", no? There's a much easier way to do the same thing from single user that won't wipe out your whole account.

* boot single user

* sh /etc/rc

* passwd [account_short_name]

Here, pick the password you want and type it twice to catch possible typos. What you type won't appear on screen, but trust that it's working and keep typing. If you get an error ("password mismatch" or some such thing), just repeat the passwd command and try again.

Once you've set the password, just:

* reboot

Two catches:

* This will only work on Tiger, as the "sh /etc/rc" line that enables this to work wasn't available on Panther and earlier. You can do it, but it takes several more steps -- go find one of O'Reilly's Mac for Unix users books for details.

* This won't reset your keychain password, so you'll either need to remember the old password, or delete the keychain and all the passwords that were stored in it.

Anonymous said...

this will not work if an OpenFirmware or EFI password has been set.

Ed said...

This is a great tip, i bookmarked this page in case i need this in the future.

Storie said...

>this will not work if an OpenFirmware or EFI password has been set.

You can remove the OF password if you switch off the Mac and pull out a Ram module.


Eric said...

This the second machine I have bought with the same problem. Ibook 12" must have been owned by a company that disabled the DVD drive so cannot open with the Tiger disk. Tried other posts listed here but did not work. I know that unsoldering the PRAM battery will work but that is beyond my ability(chicken), since I bought this for my wife. Account is Administrator short name admin, no clue about password. Any ideas

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NYPD90 said...

does this work for the macbok pro??

NYPD90 said...

Does this work for the macbook pro ???

Anonymous said...


Kyuuketsuki said...

Will this work on an iBook OS 9.2? My friend got one from the junk yard and needs to reset it but she doesnt have any discs. Please help.

jenny said...

it should work in os 9...give it a whirl!

Anonimous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this. You have no idea how much this helped out. Thunmbs up my brotha

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Anonymous said...

Awesome, just what I was looking for! This procedure works on a MAC OS X Version 10.4.10

Anonymous said...

Thank U!!!!!!!!!!!
It worked perfectly and very easy as well.
It even got me some "booty Pointz" from my wife.....
since it's her stupid mac!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Jenny, I attempting your approach on resetting your password that you posted last July, but whenever I restart my ibook & hold down the apple key and the s key, nothing happens. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

thanks work very well

Keikz said...

Oh my fucking god, when I restarted and found the same view as after installing a operative system.. I freaked out xD

But nice, thx for the tutorial ^^
Easy and fast way to work through :)

Anonymous said...

Please help! I have an apple ibook g4 that I inherited from my son's girlfriend before they broke up. I was told there was nothing wrong with the unit except I would need to purchase a new power adapter. I have purchaed the adapter. However, when the system loads I am prompt to enter a password. I do not know the password. I would like to know how can I get around the admninstration rights that appears to be on this unit. I purchased the power adapter hoping that my 9 years old son could utilize the device. I have tried the single user boot and typeed sh /etc/rc. The system goes down and comes back with localhost:/root# when I hit the reboot button. Can anyone please help me?

Anonymous said...

This helped immensely! I just fixed up an ibook with OS X 10.4.5 and didn't know the login password. Now I have it up and running with admin privileges!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

type it just like that or with spaces??

Michaelloo said...

Worked just fine for me, thanks so much. I bought an iMac and it didn't come with anything, especially no admin privileges.

Thanks A whole lot!!!!!

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Anonymous said...

It worked! Thanksssssssssss

Anonymous said...

Mother suka .. This crap works Thanks .. i tryed other forms ... and man it was tuff but this made realie ez

Anonymous said...

Hell Yeah. It worked. I bought a used mac of ebay and the dumbass forgot the password he set for "new user". Thought I was doomed until I found this charm. Thanks So fing happy right now ha

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!!!

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andymtuk said...

Hi Thanks so much for this advice, I just bought an ibook g4 on ebay and the previous owner didn't include the os discs or tell me he had an administrator password. I was stuck, couldn't install an new software or even connect to my broadband. This worked perfectly for me, thanks again.

taylormade said...

ive done everything as followed but when i get to the password promt and enter one at the end it says


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Anonymous said...

A big heads up to the poster, for I was stuck with a used Macbook Pro with Tiger 10.4.8 and was locked out, due to not knowing the administer password, but after your trick I am In like Flyn, whoever that is. Now all I need to do is install Leopard, I still need to get a DVD+R DL because the system is too big for a regular DVDV+R. Unless anybody know how to boot OSX from a flash USB drive???

dreamcatcher said...

I restart my ibook & hold down the apple key and the s key, nothing happens. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

thanks alot for your post it was the most helpful, my mac is a ibook g4 running 10.8.4 tiger and this helped me change the admin to me, as i bought the mac from cash converters for very cheap it is now a brilliant music making machine and now all my tracks i make will have my name on them instead of the last owner....

thanks alot big time


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Priscilla said...

Ok here is the deal, I forgot my administrator password, I had the install disk, I read somewhere in the forums that I could boot off the install disk holding C down and going to utilities to change my password. I did that, but once by computer restarted it would not go to my desktop it would ask me to log in. And apparently my new password was not working, and was unable to boot of the install disk again. I went to another mac forum where I found the following code wich would work by pressing command s:

/sbin/fsck -y [Enter]
/sbin/mount -uaw [Enter]
rm /var/db/.applesetupdone [Enter]
reboot [Enter]

This code was suppose to allow me to change the admin password without booting from the install disk, unfortunately the only thing it did was bring me to a new user registration thing that would block itself out after the name,address and the questions about “where and what” the computer will be used for. I am really frustrated. I need some help please! I at least want to be able to boot it of the install disk again. Holding C, or Shift, or alt+command+p+r is not working. Please help! It wont ask me for my password anymore no matter what I do it keeps taking me to the new user registration.

Anonymous said...

thanks alot for your help , i just got a second hand Macbook Pro with Leopard on it , done what you said to get a new admin account and use this account to reset the password for other account ..

Great .

Richard said...

worked great on my ibook g4 that had a master password already established on the computer. great post

Anonymous said...

thanks a million dude did sht works

jerico said...

help please... i just bought a mac book air last week and my younger brother played with it and accidentally activated a password and now i cannot install or update any software.. is that code applicable for MBA? very much appreciated. thank you

s___n said...

Thanks to Jenny, it worked great for me with MacBook using Leopard (10.5.1)

Anonymous said...


After numerous in single user mode I have been rendered unsuccessful in resetting my password, I am running OS X in an iBook G4 1.2 (early 2004).

Upon logging into single user mode I am prompted by:

Singleuser boot -- fcsk not done
Root device is mounted read-only
If you want to make modifications to files,
run ' /sbin/fsck-y' first and then ' /sbin/mount -uw /'
localhost: / root#

After attempting to run fsck –y, I receiver a message with says:

**Root file system
**Checking HFS Plus Volume.
Fsck_hfs: Volume is journaled. No checking performed.
Fsck_hfs: Use the –f option to force checking.
localhost: / root#

I then proceed to run:

localhost: / root# /sbin/mount –uw > teturn

and get

root device on (local, read-only, journaled)
devfs on dev (local)
localhost: / root#

I then type in Systemmaster. But I don’t see System started but System complete.

I have also tried:
localhost: / root# passwd username > return (yes I am useig the short username. I did however notice when I type in 'ls /users' it tells me 'Shared username username' 2 usernames does this make a difference?)
localhost: / root# reboot.

The system starts up but I am still locked out?

Please advise. Any pertinent information is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this post ....i just bought a used powerbook g4 as a gift for my brother in law and i just reset the shit out of it ...all new admin and new password that i just reset .i cant beleive how easy it was ...u gotta love mac..thanks

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for this info!!
very very help full!!!
i couldnt get it at first but then scrolled down and read someones comment about the spacing in the codes then it worked jus perfect!!!
u should post this everywhere lol

Anonymous said...

hey i did this on my macbook and worked just fine.... on thing is that i forgot to delete the other admin. accnt. is this a problem??
also.... my macbook keeps freezing not fullydownloading a page like myspace etc..
whats goin on with it? .... it used to work perfect...
please help

Angelo said...

user must go in after this is done and create new admin account.

And then you can delete the other admin.

Thanks :)

Stclair said...

thanks so much for this help. You really helped me out my dude. Worked beautifully. Mozltov

Graham said...

I found this on another blog - useful -
I bought a dead laptop off fleabay, got it working, was locked out, used this command set and was in as a new user.

Two things:- being 'legit' I had no problem registering with Apple!

The other was a wake up call, I could now access all the previous owners 'stuff' (documents, pictures, music etc.) on the HD. (I couldn't figure why there was so much space used on the HD!)
SELLER BEWARE wipe or remove or trash your hard drive BEFORE selling your dead laptop !!
This feller was fortunate that all I did was trash his stuff, to get the space back on the HD.
I wonder how many 'dead' laptops are bought for the information that could be obtained?!

Graham said...

This is the only code that works reliably

/sbin/fsck -y [Enter]
/sbin/mount -uaw [Enter]
rm /var/db/.applesetupdone [Enter]
reboot [Enter]

But remember you are registering (i assume) 'your' computor with Apple.... which will include your IP & mac ( not apple) address

gato said...

still works, thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

can some help me plz? when i restart the system after putting the commands in correctly, all i can use is mouse pad to move cursor but can NOT type anything, it just wont let me type anything. after a while i get ding ding noise every time i press any button on keyboard. any solution for that?

Anonymous said...

i try this and it did not work right . when i type in my new admin name and password . it restarts the process over

kyle said...

i tried this it keeps telling me .applesetupdone is no directory
help me please ? when i try to setup new admin username an passwd it returns to the beginning

Anonymous said...

I have the exact same problem as Pricilla. Please, I need help!


Anna said...

I have the exact same problem as Pricilla. Please help!


Anonymous said...

Hi all-

I did this and it worked. However, after I deleted the old admin account, now i do not have sufficient access to do almost anything. I went into disk utilities and repaired permissions, but that did not work either...any suggestions?

Romy said...

Hi! I was wondering if you could maybe help me with this.

I lost my admin password of my Powerbook G4, so I used:

mount -uw /
rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
shutdown -h now

to remove the old admin account so i could create a new one. This worked perfectly in just one try. But when i have to fill in my data (Apple ID, name, address, etc.) the keyboard is disabled! It just makes this annoying sound when i press any key. Without entering your data you obviously can’t continue registration.

The keys do work untill that introduction clip starts.

Help would be very much appreciated, since my laptop is useless this way.!

sourabh madaan said...

thankyou so works

Anonymous said...

i want to be able to change the password without everything being this possible>

AC said...

I'm actually very new to encryption so this article has been extremely helpful.

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blakeredfield said...

Will this delete any of the current accounts on the computer? I need to get to my stuff and move it over, and I'm afraid of deleting them.


Anonymous said...

Command-S did nothing on my iBook G4.. found additional to get that working here:

Good Luck!

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Anonymous said...

Hello I really need help!.. I lost my pw so i followed these steps
# Reboot
# Hold apple + s down after you hear the chime.
# When you get text prompt enter in these terminal commands to create a brand new admin account (hitting return after each line):

* mount -uw /
* rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
* shutdown -h no

problem is now once setup starts i will not allow me to finish creating a new account. the continue button isnt highlighted! ive used this code before on an old mac and it worked fine.. but im having an issue with the second line (* rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone)
it tells me theres no directory with that code. i need my pc for school and im really bummed please someone help me!! thanks

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i want to do this code but i dont know how to get the dot in =

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Enhance Your Life said...

Thanks for the great tips, it help me so much

suprize said...

but this doesn't work on the clamshell type ibook tried it but evertime i do it it says unknown word am i doing something wrong or what help plz.

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Anonymous said...

after the chime I CMD + S and no txt prompt pops up.. what comes up is a blinkin globe icon and a MAC/ os folder then the computer goes back to normal.. but still can't change administrator password can someone plz help?

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Anonymous said...

Will I lose everything on my other account?

katie said...

i just bought a macbook off of ebay and there is an administrative password set so i cant add a new security system.. i can not contact the previous owner of this computer, how can i get rid of the original password or hack into it to change it? PLEASE HELP!!!!

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Anonymous said...

Works fabulously. One comment for those who are afraid of losing the information in their "old" admin accounts: you can use the new admin login to reset the password for your original admin login (System Preferences --> Users). Then, log out of the new one, log into the old one, and delete the new account. Then you're back to your original admin account, with all the permissions/info/documents that go along with it, but with a new password!

Anonymous said...

I just completed this but now my computer will not boot up! I do I reverse it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Reset OS X Password Without an OS X CD
So you and your friends have a wild party and you wake up in the morning to realize someone has changed the admin password on your beloved mac and you can no longer access your computer. No problem, you can just pop in the OS X DVD that came with your computer and reset the password....but wait, that's missing too.

Here's how to reset your OS X password without an OS X CD. You need to enter terminal and create a new admin account:


2.Hold apple + s down after you hear the chime.

3.When you get text prompt enter in these terminal commands to create a brand new admin account (hitting return after each line):

◦mount -uw /
◦rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
◦shutdown -h now

4.After rebooting you should have a brand new admin account. When you login as the new admin you can simply delete the old one and you're good to go again!