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!