I'm sorry Dacoit, I'm afraid I can't do that ...
January 31, 2012 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Please hope me! Far from home and locked out of my Mac due to international language keyboard issue.

Thanks for reading ... and here's a puzzle for you advanced Mac-heads out there:

I'm visiting Istanbul and learning Turkish, so I've had my (recent model) MacBook Air's keyboard set to "Turkish-QWERTY", and my account login password was a Turkish word ("hoşgeldiniz"). All of which worked great until the other day when, before writing an email in English, I switched the keyboard setting back to "standard US".

Oh no! Ever since, every time I try to log in to my Mac I get rejected. That's because the US keyboard can not, in any way, make the ş in my password. And the big catch-22 is that it seems to be impossible to switch back to the Turkish keyboard without first logging in!

I can't believe that something so simple would brick my computer. Worst of all, I don't have any kind of system recovery chip, and I'm in Istanbul where there's no Genius Bar. And finally, just to round things out, I have the flu and am running a 102º fever. Help ...?
posted by dacoit to Technology (7 answers total)
Are you running Lion with a recovery partition? If so then restart holding down the option key and select the recovery HD. As long as your account is an admin you should be able to launch the terminal and enter resetpassword.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 12:15 AM on January 31, 2012

ş? I used option-shift z, then s. Granted I'm using a Mac keyboard layout in Linux, but it should be the same.

If that doesn't work, you should be able to restart in single-user mode (hold S as it starts up) and change the password.
posted by WasabiFlux at 12:17 AM on January 31, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the note! But ... won't resetpassword ask me for my old password (which I won't be able to write for the same reason)?
posted by dacoit at 12:17 AM on January 31, 2012

Best answer: No it shouldn't - if you are an admin it will only prompt you for a new one. It won't reset your keychain but you should be able to remedy that once you've bypassed the password screen.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 12:20 AM on January 31, 2012

Response by poster: YES! I got in! What a relief! My other option involved a multi-hour trek across town half-hallucinating with a fever.

Option-shift-z, then s did not work sadly, and for some reason it did not let me change the password in root command line mode (perhaps I was doing it wrong, it said something about a Daemon error) but your suggestions led me to a page that mentioned removing "AppleSetupDone", and once I did that the system started over from scratch, allowing me to select a Turkish keyboard and successfully log in. Hooray! Thanks for helping a poor bloke out!
posted by dacoit at 12:48 AM on January 31, 2012

Cheers man, good to hear. Now get some fluids and a nap! :)
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 1:10 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

For anyone else that might find this thread by searching, there's another method. Assuming that full disk encryption is not on, and physical access to the Mac, resetting the root password is quite easy:

Copy and paste follows:

Single User Mode under Mac OS X gives root access privileges without requiring the root password. (Note: Single User Mode is not the vulnerability here; the vulnerability is the fact that root access is given without having to enter in any password whatsoever.)

Step 1) Restart the computer (or turn it on if it's already off) while holding down the command and s keys at the same time. (If the computer is running Mac OS Public Beta, just press the s key.) They have root privileges at this moment, but now it's time to take advantage of these privileges.

Step 1.5) Type "/sbin/fsck -y". (Type this without the quotes, of course.) (This step really isn't necessary at all, but it just takes a second, and they might as well just do a quick check of the hard disk before mounting it.)

Step 2) Type "/sbin/mount -wu /" (This mounts the volume "/" with read/write access.)

Step 3) Type "/sbin/SystemStarter" (This starts the network services, which is necessary to gain access to NetInfo.)

Step 4) Here, one could now just type "passwd root"
posted by thewalrus at 1:50 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]

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