Peculiar password problem
June 11, 2014 10:36 AM Subscribe
The OS X GUI—but only the GUI—has stopped accepting my password. Any
posted by Zozo to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a late-2009 iMac running OS X 10.9.2. The other night, I tried to install something that asked for my administrator password. When I entered it, the dialog box did the little “nope, wrong password” wiggle. This was a sudden development: I’d entered that password without incident several times that day. I tried again a few times and got the same response, so I shrugged, saved my files, and restarted the computer.
When the flat grey login screen came up, it wouldn’t accept my password either. After three failed attempts, it offered to let me use my Apple ID to reset the password. That seemed to work, but when it tried to use my newly-reset password to automatically log in, it was rejected again. I reset it again, to a completely different password. Same problem.
Here’s where it gets weird. I put the Mac into console mode (username >console, blank password) and tried to log in that way—and it worked! I tried to SSH in from my laptop. That worked too. And
sudo accepted my password just fine. But when I exited to the GUI login screen, I was back to password non grata.
While I know it’s best practice to have a separate admin account, I’m ashamed to say I don’t have any other users set up on this computer, so I can’t test whether this problem is limited to my account.
I’d call myself an intermediate nerd: I’m comfortable at the command line, and I can write a mean shell script. But I don’t even know where to begin troubleshooting this. Thanks in advance for your help!