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December 24, 2009 9:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I either recover my Mac OS X password or else get around needing it?

Several years ago, my then-girlfriend's father bought a family pack of OS_X Leopard, and gave one of them to me. A year later, she and I were broken up. About six months after that, my computer crashed, and the genius bar had to replace the hard drive and reinstall everything. This means that the update password was lost from memory, and I never knew it and can't easily find out what it might have been (ex's dad installed Leopard himself).

So now I've gone a year without updating and it's starting to drive me crazy. Not only can I not update OS_X, but I can't install any number of things I'd like to either.

Does anyone know how I can either recover what this password might have been, or work around it so that I don't need a password to update?

Much Thanks, and Happy Christmas/Hannuka/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Festivus/Holidays to you.
posted by Navelgazer to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My very best suggestion is to buy the $29 upgrade to Snow Leopard. You won't need any information about your former version of Leopard.
posted by Zophi at 9:57 AM on December 24, 2009


If you have the installation disk, you can reset the password. If you don't have it, but know someone who does, just borrow from them. Any disk will work.

here are instructions
posted by orville sash at 9:57 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you have a system disk? If you have [or can borrow] a system disk there is a password reset function. Check "resetting the admin" password section here. Any system disk that is appropriate to your OS will work, so you can even borrow one in most cases just to do this.
posted by jessamyn at 9:58 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


My very best suggestion is to buy the $29 upgrade to Snow Leopard. You won't need any information about your former version of Leopard.

The upgrade will carry over the old accounts and credentials. He'll be in the same boat with Snow Leopard except 30 dollars poorer. He needs to reset it the way orville suggests.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2009


Hmmm... I'd already now just purchased my copy of Snow Leopard (which seems like it's worth it for $30 in any case.) It seems like there's no way to do this without access to an install disc, though? And specifically a Leopard install disc?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:25 AM on December 24, 2009


Ive done this with different version discs before. Might as well try. I imagine the reset utility isnt that much different.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:29 AM on December 24, 2009


You need the install disk for the operating system that is currently on the machine. I wouldn't fret about finding one. The world is absolutely lousy with Leopard install disks. If you know anyone who has a mac who shipped with leopard on it, or bought the leopard install disk, you can use that to reinstall.
posted by orville sash at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2009


=use that to reset the password, I mean.
posted by orville sash at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2009


Boot from the snow leopard disk, and try to reset the password from there or try one of the methods listed here.
posted by hariya at 11:03 AM on December 24, 2009


You can also change the password in Single User mode (previously). I'd google it up to make sure you're doing it correctly, but you don't need the discs (though it makes things easier).

I am also (nearly fairly) certain that any system disc will work as long as it boots your Mac. All the disc is doing is using a GUI to send Command Line syntax to the Directory access DB (or somesuch Unixy magic). Almost always, if there is a way to do it from the finder there is a way to do it from the CL (as far as the OS goes).
posted by cjorgensen at 11:04 AM on December 24, 2009


cjorgensen for the win! It worked (after I did a little bit of googling about single user mode.)

For the record, here's what worked.

Thanks again, everybody, and consider this one resolved.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:38 AM on December 24, 2009


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