How do I reset my Mac OS X admin root password?
I bought a used PowerBook G4. The original owners have moved to Canada and I do not have their phone number. The problem is that I do not know the administrator's password. I am unable to make changes on the computer or add software without a password. How do I get a new password when I don't even know the existing one?
I bet you'll be surprised how easy it is to change the administrator (known in Unix parlance as "root") password on a Mac OS X Tiger, Panther, etc., computer. The key to unlocking your system is the Mac OS X install disk.
If you don't have this disk, then your best bet is to buy a copy of Mac OS X, even though you already have the OS installed on your computer (you could try calling Apple (800 SOS-APPL) and asking for a replacement boot disk too). One smart way to accomplish this: look for Mac OS X on eBay. You might also ask yourself if you need to run Tiger, or whether Panther would work for you - it'd be a lot cheaper.
Once you have an install disk in hand, double click on the Install Mac OS icon and you'll get a window with a big graphic (this is one place where Apple isn't subtle!) and a restart button. Click on it, and your PowerBook will restart and go straight to the install process.
But don't install the OS again! Just click through windows far enough until you get the regular set of choices on the menu bar. One of those menus is Utilities and one of the choices on that menu is Reset Password....
I'd show this menu as a screenshot here, but can't figure out how to get a screenshot of the install process. Sorry!
Anyway, using this tool, you'll be able to change your password to something you know. Then choose Quit from the Installer menu and when your computer restarts, you'll now know the admin password.
Not too hard.
One important note here for anyone with a Mac: your admin password is only of limited security because anyone with an OS install disk can restart off their disk and reset your password without knowing your existing password. Just something to keep in mind, securitywise!
Hope this helps you out with your new PowerBook!
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Reader Comments To Date: 343
Can I use an Apple Powermac Mac OS X 10.1 Install CD to unlock admin password?
When i restart my computer, and hold down [command] S it doesn't do anything. Someone please help
Thank you so much. Worked like a charm. Rona.
I have apple power book G4 with mac OS. I have given password to the user account and admin. I forgot the both passwords. Now I am unable to start my laptop. I do not have any support CD. Can any one help to me on that issue. I was trying to install XP as well as vista, but it is not booting the CD. Can you please give some solution for that?
Thanks josearanda that method worked. Tip to others, in case you missed what I missed: Once you've rebooted, go into system preferences > system > accounts and rest the password on the account you originally set up.
josearanda's method worked to a point. My problem I have now is at the create your account screen the select your picture part is blank and the continue button is grayed out.
Hi Dave, I just wanted to thank you.
My father-in-law bought a used eMac, and neither he nor the vendor had given the root password any thought, and he didn't encounter any problems before he wanted to add a new printer. Now he, the computer and the printer are up and running, thanks to you!
But don't install the OS again! Just click through windows far enough until you get the regular set of choices on the menu bar. One of those menus is Utilities and one of the choices on that menu is Reset Password...
What will happened if I proceed with the installation? HELP
I had done the above but went on with the installation on my Mac Powerbook G4.
If you desire to change the root password on the mac, you just open up terminal in your logged in account and type:
sudo passwd root (enter)
this will prompt you to enter a new password for root 2x. and voila! a new root password!
If you don't know what to do with the root user, then you probably shouldn't be attempting to change the password.
Now lets clear something up....admin !=root!
You can be an admin user without being root. In fact-that is how your mac is set up after you install, and create a user. You are an admin user.
Now if you are needing to change your password, or a different users password, then fine...Google it. The only thing Jose's steps will do for you is create a new user, and possibly allow you to change your own users password.....
Don't get mad at me, just trying to help.
an iMAC user hacked into my computer.
how do i get this person out of my computer?
others get to my computer through that person, the main second party is 0021001c0cdd.
thanks for any help
HI, I am in HAITI .i have a powerbookg4 it was for my father, and my father and my brother .12th of january 2010 ,our house was destroyed.i take the powerg4 of my father i have not the administrator password please help me.I cannot upgrade noting, thank you,
I have Mac Desktop and there's an admin password the seller told me that he didn't input any password on the Mac Desktop. Unfortunately, i can't update nor install any programs there's an admin password on the desktop.
I don't have the Installation Disk... Any help would be highly appreciated.
I got a i book 2001 with mac os x off e-bay.
they give me the pasword. but forgot to give me the username is thier a way to resit it or by pass it. help me places
I bought a macbook for school off ebay for a cheap price. Brand new but it had been the shopfront mac, ie. the example one that everyone has used and knocked around etc. I have been using it but similarly to those above it has an administrative password that i don't know. the user name is "all tech". i have tried reinstalling snow leopard but all options are blocked or it asks for password
what do i do??
Here is the information on how to reset your password below:
TURN OFF YOUR MAC , THEN TURN IT BACK ON WHILE HOLDING DOWN THE APPLE + S KEYS UNTIL YOU HEAR A CHIME.THIS WILL TAKE YOU TO WHAT IS CALLED TERMINAL COMMANDS.
WHEN YOU GET A TEXT PROMPT , TYPE/ENTER THE FOLLOWING LINES OF CODE HITTING THE RETURN KEY AFTER EACH LINE.
You must know the user name of which you want to reset its password.
mount -uw / (press enter)
passwd *username* (press enter)
type the new password when it prompts you to do so (press enter)
reboot now (press enter)
make sure to pay close attention to the spaces, dashes and slashes.
where it says username don’t include the stars next to it.
also remember to hit return after each line.
Make sure the you do not space in between the db/.Apple and use capital letters where they are in the code and it will work
that's it....you're done....you're back in.
if it doesn't do that , then you did it wrong.
i have forgotten the password for my mac operating system is their a possibility for me to unlock the computer or i just have to change the operating system
I have a stupid question, but still..
If i reset my admin pass WITH the instalation disk will I lose my files?
Please answer! Thanks! :)
Michael, that's what we're talking about in this article. Go back to the top and read it. :-)
Dessi, changing the admin password will not affect the files on your computer...
Hi, I went through the Reinstall process with my disc and went to the Reset Password option. However, "System Administrator (root)" is my ONLY option for resetting the password, and it won't give me any other options, and it won't let me reset password for the root. What do I do now? Thank you in advance!!
All the help on the page dit not work for me i tried all. I have a imac 10.4.11 tiger. I can reset password nor wil my cd drive keep the cds in it keep ejecting cd eve normal music cd. When i switch mac on it goes to starting mac with proces bar then gives welcom in diffrent languges the gives a big x and getting started. I then fill in al the steps. When the page coms to greate accoun i enter password and al hit continue it says: Unexpected error occured. Local account creation failed. [NOTE: THIS EXCEPTION ORIGINATED IN THE SERVER] and more stuff. I hit ok then unable to add standard user. What now plz help me to get mac back on track. Steve
I volunteer at the columbus branch of FreeGeek, and we get used computers in all the time, and logging into one without password is a pain. Of course, we erase all the data with dban, but we still have to log in. This hint is a real convenience the next time a locked Mac cones in!
Hi Davi: ;-)
I am on a 2010 Macbook and think i might have a unique problem I am unable to work around.
When I press Utilities, there isn't anything showing.
In any event, every time I reboot, press C, etc, I get a kernel panic window.
I dont personally believe there is anything wrong with the hardware but believe this is just part of the locked up process.
I have tested my Ram and I dont have anything else installed and it seems to be working just fine.
So normally I wold just repot press C and reformat but i cant do it.
Neither will it let me erase the hard drive but will only let me rewrite over the empty part of the drive..
So I am not able to get to RESET the Password per your instructions.
And since every reboot brings u the kernel panic window which essentially just tells me that i need to restart my computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the Restart Button.
You can see a jpeg of this window at http://tinyurl.com/9owb39
Any other ideas?
I have a full Mac Snow Leopard and usually a reboot alone will let me by pass the password and I can reformat and install but nothing i can do at the moment will let me do this
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!
2nd Post-1 above this one
I tried to do what you posted and then I tried to get into safe mode by pressing Shift and now I cant do anything for this Kernal Panic window is now coming up every time after i did that. Before it only came up if i tried to reboot and pressed C. It would then tell me to hold down the power button and t urn it back on and when I did, it would open up properly but no longer, now just into kernal panic mode each time
Before this I did test the RAM and it seems fine and i am not using any devices on it.
Any idea how i can get it back out of this mode?
I dont live anywhere near an Apple store
got it out of that mode, once i took the dvd out of its slot so back to trying to break the password again
The JoseAranda fix WORKED.......i realize this is 5 years old but I am still very grateful.
Thanks for this page ;-)
Thanks so much. This helped especially me who is dyslexic.
Hi, i just got my MAC, at my school i need to get office installed and The printers too, they asked me for my password and i couldn't remember it, the guy entered to TERMINAL and typed -us after my username and when he clicked enter, "password:" appeared, i tried typing it many times and didn't worked. I've done this method you posted several times, but how can i make sure i did it correctly and next time i take it there it will work?
hi everyone if non of those steps work try this one guarantee adolfos one will work on any mac's device just remember to use spce like on the lines 1. Reboot
2. Hold apple key + s key down after you hear the chime. (command + s on newer Macs)
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 /
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 your good to go again!
Apple stores wont reset it for you. Computer shops may charge you $50 to $200 trying to reinstall the Mac and failing at end
You Menitoned Removing the battery and disconecting
the VRAM. I Know where the battery is But Wheris the
VRAM to disconect. Rodney.
I bought a used macbook air 2011 that has firmware password.
can anyone PLEASE help me to bypass this password.
I tried everything with no help.
This info is helpful. I hope not to lose files . I teach and holiday graphic designs are stored. A teacher's nightmare. I have an iMac g5 Tiger.
The beginning issue was the screen without any noted incident did not go past the Apple icon to the desk top. I mistakingly, perhaps, reinstalled with the disc rather than going to utilities. The reboot creates a login window.
Previously there was no account set up.
I have tried rebooting with the disc in and pressing "apple + c" . Then choosing the language and selecting the apple bar "utilities" menu and selecting "change password".
Here the window for the hard drive selected only recognizes the user as "System Administrator (root)". I changed the password and entered a "hint". The change was accepted. I have rebooted and tried to log in with the disc in and disc out. The window expects a user entry so I entered my name with the new password and "System Administrator (root)". I am unable to get to my desk top.
The old files can be viewed from the installer disc . I have appreciation for the suggestions. Holding down "s" on reboot and entering code. I am aware that I simply do not know which recommendation keeps the children's work and records intact and accessible nor do I know how, specifically, the computer specifications iMac tiger g5 , OSX 10.4 relates to the actual code entries.
Well best wishes and an early "ThankYou" for the site. Elisabethe
So sorry-Correction: I held down "c" not "command +c". I am able to get to code by holding down"command+s" . Best Elise
Referring to answer at top of page that covers resetting password and includes iMac G5, Tiger 10.4. I have reinstalled O S X 10.4.3. This may be a mistake as system is 10.4.11 higher. I am encouraged as I can still view file list thru utilities. The files belong to my students.
Following the instructions at the top of the page -I used installer disk however there is no " install Mac icon". Note I had to hold "c" upon reboot in order to view installer disc. There was no mention of this so I am more than not likely to be off base. There is a page to select the language. I can get to a hard drive icon page but clicking the icon does not create a menu. In previous query the computer login does not accept the reset password upon reboot. However it does say that the password is reset when I changed it.
Again Best Elisabethe
Hi, I have an old PowerBook G4 titanium model. I need to reset the password.
It's been 5 years since I have used the PowerBook and cannot for the life of me remember the right password.
I have the installer cd and followed the steps and changed all three of the user passwords.
But after restarting and going back to the login screen it won't accept the new password???
Please help!! I don't want to lose what is on the computer, and don't know how to login without the password.
Thank you so much!!!
hi all hope you can help
we have been given an apple mac which uses snow leopard and we have inserted the os x disk to reset the admin password which is all good, but it will only let me select the option "system administrator (Root)" there are no other option to choose from! have i done something wrong?i dont no why it will only give me the option of the root user but not the admin user account??
Thanks for the great info!
Just because you have a password doesn't mean your data is safe, so knowing the methods which your password could be reset helps show the need to use further methods, thanks!
Jose Aranda . You are wonderfuly made by God, i love you. I have taking my laptop to place to unlock my code even the apple company but they could not able to do it , untill i discovered ur formular and applied it ,it worked immediately like a magic . Am happy .
I have a similar issue though not exactly the same. I have an old Imac (2006) loaded with Version 10.6.8. (snow leopard) that a friend has given me as he longer uses it. He deleted all his data along with his user name and administrator password before passing it over and since then I cannot update any software or change system preferences or anything requiring the adminstrator password. I have tried to reset the password by installing the snow leopard disk I have (meant to work for 5 licenses and only installed on my own Imac)but everytime I try to install and go to utilties the install program asks for my user name and adminstrator password which I don't have. I have tried various UNIX commands from the terminal but these havent worked either. I also do not see any license agreement or language selection or anything else when I double click on install. Is it possible the disk is only one use?? or is there anything else I can try to reset the adminstrator password without knowing the origional user account etc.?
I have big problem, I bought macbook pro oct 2011 model from someone and i was using it in my country but I think the owner has set the pin code on main OS it means i dont have any access on macbook,whenever i turn on so it asks the pin to unlock it and when i pres command + s key so again it goes for pin, please any 1 can help to unlock it totally i dont have dvds or os, thanks
When I go to the utilities list to reset password, I enter the new details but then it tells me it will not be changed automatically due to the keychain access and then I click ok and it voids the new password I have entered and leaves blank fields, I managed to get into my main account by the install disc but I still cant get in to the admin area with a new passoword.. any help??
Hi; I have an intel IMac , and before going on a vacation I set up a password, to protect my data, when I come back I could not remember the password,i followed the instructions from Jose post, but it setup another account, I have a backup disk of everything that was on the computer before I went, but because the data is larger than the space left on the disk it won't let me do a restore, can you please advise on how to do the restore into the old partition? and how to undo the mods done with Jose suggestion?
Yikes! Please help. I am a flake and forgot my password to my admin so I was not able to install anything. My friend helped me to reset the password using the single user mode method. Here are the instructions that I followed.
1) Reboot. hold command + S.
2) At the command prompt type:
mount -uw /
I cannot remember the last line but after all this rebooted the computer again. All of the files previously on my desktop are gone! Looking in the finder window, my image files are also missing. I'm really worried that I just erased all of my old files. When I go to Macintosh HD and go to Users, my old user account is there with all of my old files. They have a red icon next to them and in the permissions it says that there is no access.
Is there any way to retrieve my old files or are they forever gone? I would really appreciate it if any of you macdaddies out there could help a girl out. Thank you for reading
i tried to install Crystalbuntu on a usb derive, using terminal on my mac.
it is strange, since it asks for my os password. well..i tried all the passwords i could remember..not working
adminsitrator on my mac got no password, i left it blank, (not working) set adminstrator password, but not working..
i restarted my mac with ctrl r , got to the boot menu , utilities, terminal and used resetpassword command..
restarted my computer, and the damn thing askes for a password again to deploy the linux on the usb..
i am going nuts..i never set any password to my administrator account, i left it empty..but even typing enter when asking for password is not working...
what am i missing here?
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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