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Travis
Travis, Mac-Trained Product Designer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 759
Experience:  19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati
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i forgot my password for my macbook

Customer Question

i forgot my password for my macbook
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Do you mean the admin password XXXXX is required to login or make administrative changes to the computer?

You will need the Mac OS X Install Disks to reset. Do you have them?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes i have the Os X install disk 1 and 2 and the leopard dvd however i forgot my password XXXXX is required to login,

also i tried rebooting it without the disk by pressing down command and S and following instructions i found online such as

  1. Type mount -uw / and press Enter.
  2. Type rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone and press Enter.
  3. Type shutdown -h now and press Enter.
this action caused my mac book to be stuck at the apple loading screen with the spinning circle forever. It does not even allow me to get to login screen anymore please help I am going crazy, thanks.
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
If the following suggestions work, please let me know and you can Accept the answer (and if possible, leave positive feedback). If not, please DO NOT Accept the answer. Instead, let me know and we'll try some more things or I can refer you to another Expert who may be able to help you further.

If you are starting up off of the Mac OS X Install Disks, then you will not need your admin password XXXXX login. The Disks do not require it.

1) Start the machine off of the Mac OS X Install Disc by holding C before startup while the Install disk is in.
2) Don't let go of the "C" until it starts from the Install Disk.

NOTE: If you can't get the mac to startup from the Install Disk, try starting up from the Install Disk in an external DVD Drive.
3) When it starts up, you will have to choose your language and then click Continue. NOTE: If you are not prompted for the language, then you are not running off of the Install Disk.
4) DO NOT CONTINUE WITH THE INSTALLATION. Instead go to the top menu bar and choose the following:
A) if 10.6 or later - Choose "Password XXXXX" from the Utlities menu
B) if 10.5 or 10.4 - Choose ""Reset Password" from the Utilities menu
C) if 10.3 - Choose "Reset Password" from the Installer menu
5) Select your Mac OS X Hard Drive Volume
6) Select the user name of your original administrator account. (DO NOT CHOOSE THE Root)
7) Enter a new password XXXXX click Save.
8) Click the red button in upper left to quit the app
9) Choose "Quit Mac OS X Installer..." from the top menu "Mac OS X Installer"
10) Restart the machine

After you've reset your admin password, you'll want to follow the following document about keychain access:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1631

Good Luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
"NOTE: If you can't get the mac to startup from the Install Disk, try starting up from the Install Disk in an external DVD Drive."

what do you mean by this?

also :
i tried rebooting it without the disk by pressing down command and S and following instructions i found online such as

  1. Type mount -uw / and press Enter.
  2. Type rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone and press Enter.
  3. Type shutdown -h now and press Enter.
this action caused my mac book to be stuck at the apple loading screen with the spinning circle forever. It does not even allow me to get to login screen anymore please help me. If anything this is the one vital question i need an answer to and thanks agian for your help.
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
If the following suggestions work, please let me know and you can Accept the answer (and if possible, leave positive feedback). If not, please DO NOT Accept the answer. Instead, let me know and we'll try some more things or I can refer you to another Expert who may be able to help you further.

If you are unable to start from the disk in the internal drive, then you may need to try to start from it in an external USB DVD drive such as this one for example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136158

What you did with your prompts in SingleUser mode was remove the file that the computer looks for when starting the computer that would have been there showing that the computer has already been setup. This will in essence make the computer think it has never been setup before. This will allow you to setup a new password XXXXX user. Not really what you are looking for.

However, if you did not first enter fsck at the prompt, I don't believe this would have been executed properly.

So, to get you through this and back to an operating computer, I think your best bet at this point is to first try to repair the System.

1) Insert the Mac OS X install disk.
2) Shut down the computer.
3) Start the machine while holding the C key immediately after pressing the power button (Don't let go of the "C" until it starts from the disk or locks up). If you have to choose, select the Installation disk as the startup.
4) When it starts, select your language, then DO NOT continue the Installation process.
5) Just go to the Utility menu in the top menu bar. Choose the "Disk Utility" program.
6) Run Disk Utilities. Select your hard drive in the column on the left and "Verify" the Hard Drive.
7) Repair any errors that it may find by next choosing the "Repair" button.
8) When finished quit the program and restart the computer normally.
9) If it starts properly, stop here and go back to my previous instructions about how to properly reset the password. If it does not start normally, then let's try to repair the system from the Single User Mode below:

Run fsck in Single User Mode
1) Start the mac and hold down the apple key (Command) and the S key until the machine starts into Single User Mode.
2) After the Apple logo (if the hard drive can mount), it will have a black screen with white text. You can release the apple key and the S key. When it finally stops loading and you are given a prompt, type this command (in bold) EXACTLY(there is only a space between "k" and "-") and then press return:

/sbin/fsck -fy

fsck will go through five "phases" and then display info about your hard disk's state. Once it finishes, it'll display this message if no issue were found:
** The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK
If fsck found issues and has done anything, it will display this message:
***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
If the above message appears, repeat the fsck command until fsck tells you that your volume "appears to be OK"
The first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so it's normal to have to do it more than once.
3) When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type the following (in bold) EXACTLY and press return:

reboot

4) If it starts properly, stop here and go back to my previous instructions about how to properly reset the password. If it does not start normally, then it's time to consider an "Archive and Install" of the Mac OS X.

ARCHIVE AND INSTALL
The "Archive and Install" option on reinstalling the Mac OS X will preserve your user data and files, but you may need to reinstall third party software and fonts. Because of this, if you do not have a good backup of the hard drive, you may want to explore other options first.
There is a comprehensive website detailing the Archive and Install process online. I recommend you read through it thoroughly before proceeding.
http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/archiveinstall.html
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
sorry but,

So I tried your instrcutions on "Run fsck in Single User Mode" exactly and i was prompt with the message volume "appears to be OK". then i typed reboot and enter. when the macbook is start up it still stuck in the apple initial loading screen with the spinning circle =(. I tried this process 3 times still no luck.

I have the OS disks and eveything but back when I tried using it and it still required me to input my password XXXXX was stupid enough to turn to this website for help: http://www.macyourself.com/2009/08/03/how-to-reset-your-mac-os-x-password-without-an-installer-disc/

I tried all 3 of the single user method listed on the top of that site and that was the root of my startup problem that I have right now.

Please this is a dire question I need answered and I will gladly pay more for the answer.
How can I get my macbook to start up agian pass the loading screen, should I resolve to using your last method of "ARCHIVE AND INSTALL"


To reiterate my problem:
when i turn on my mac book it starts up then goes to apple loading screen, it loads then shuts down by itself briefly then turns on agian to the loading screen, this repeats itself continuously never allowing me to get pass the initial loading screen.

please help this dire problem I will be glad to pay more thankyou.
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
if the volume appears OK but you are still stuck at start up. First boot from the install disc. Choose language. Then go to the utilities menu, change your password. Then you'll need to archive and install. Make sure you consult the article I posted about archive and install earlier. Good luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The problem is when i insert the disc the macbook will still not load the OS X disc or any other discs for that matter, i cannot access the choose language or utilities menu options because my mac book is stuck at the apple loading screen(spinning circle). If I am able to get pass this one issue then i understand and can impliment all of the instructions you gave me following.

Unfortunately I am still stuck at the apple loading screen, how can i address this issue first?

when you say boot from the install disc does that mean just insert disc and turn on the macbook?
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Ok, if it is getting stuck at the apple, then it is still trying to boot up from the hard drive. That's the problem.

The Mac OS X Disk has to be in. Shut down the computer. Then do the following.

Press power, IMMEDIATELY (after pressing the Power button, before the gray screen pops up) press and HOLD the "C" key until the "choose your language" screen pops up. DO NOT let go of the "C" key at any point until this screen pops up. If for some reason the apple appears and the spinning circle again, then try this instead:

With the Mac OS X Install Disk in and the mac shut down, press power, IMMEDIATELY (after pressing the Power button, before the gray screen pops up) press and HOLD the "Option" key until the Startup Manager pops up. DO NOT let go of the "Option" key at any point until the Startup Manager appears. The Startup Manager will show all of the available startup volumes in the center of the screen. You can navigate and choose with the arrow keys and the Return key on your keyboard. Choose the Mac OS X Install Disk. It will look like a DVD and say "Mac OS X" I am assuming.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
awesome I will try this as soon as I get home if it works I will hit the accept button for you immediately thanks.
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Good Luck! Let me know if you run into any problems. I'll reply as soon as I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Travis,
I held down the option button as soon as the screen lite up(im assuming this is the gray sceen) and it work, it took me to a screen with 2 options HDD and OS X install disc i moved the arrow pointed underneath to OS X disc and hit enter. (note: the option button wrked but the C button did not)

It began loading and i had great hopes, unfortunately the same problem still persist =(.

It is still stuck at the loading screen and it turns off on off on etc. by itself.
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
What do you mean by turning off and on? Does it shut down then you have to restart or is it just flashing?

If it is just flashing at the startup screen, even when it is trying to boot from the Mac OS X disc, then it may be time to try other things.

Make sure the laptop is powered down. Press power, IMMEDIATELY (after pressing the Power button, before the gray screen pops up) press and HOLD the "Shift" key until the gray screen and the spinning wheel pops up. DO NOT let go of the "shift" key at any point until this screen pops up. This is a safeboot. It can fix any startup issues the mac may be having. Note: Startup will likely take substantially longer than normal (20 - 30 minutes is not unheard of).

If the Safeboot works, shut it down. Then try to start it up normally. If the safeboot did not work, let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
* What i mean by turning on and off is yes flashing it would go to the apple loading screen then the back light would go out the screen would go black and quickly flash on agian.

I tried your new shift instruction and I am waiting for about 8 min. so far, it is still doing the flashing thing. Should it be doing that or did i not correctly use the safeboot method?




Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Sounds like either the Safeboot was not performed properly or there is problems with either the logic board or the RAM. However, since these problems began when you were in Single User Mode attempting to reset the password, I am leaning toward missing file structure. Normally, the easiest fix for this is a Safeboot first, if that doesn't work, then "Archive and Install". Actually, I just tested it, and you'll have to login to complete the Safeboot! AARRGH!

Ok, since you are at a point where you don't know the password, the file structure has been compromised and you can't Safeboot... I think the only course of action is an "Archive and Install".

Make sure the Mac OS X Disk you have in is the correct disk for the machine. Make sure it is disc 1 (if it is a multiple disc set) and is clean and free of scratches and dust. Startup into the Startup Manager (Option key at startup) like you did before. Choose the Install Disk as the startup disk. If it flashes and gets stuck again like it did before, then let me know and we'll try a PRAM Reset (I'll put the instructions below), then try the Startup Manager again, choosing the Install Disk.

If you can get it to boot up from the Mac OS X Install Disk, then it would be time to perform the "Archive and Install". Just make sure you read the article I linked to earlier. It will help you through the process and make sure you don't accidentally Overwrite your system with a Clean Install.

If you can't get the mac to startup from the Install Disk, you have 2 choices. 1) Take the mac in for service to the local Apple Store. 2) Try to start the mac up from the Mac OS X Install Disk in an external USB DVD drive (if you have one or have access to one). Often the Optical Drive does not have the reliability and / or the laser is not capable of properly starting the mac up from the Install Disk. Especially if there is some wear and tear on the drive. My MacBook Pro's Optical Drive has been dead for nearly 2 years now. It was the second one, so I've now resorted to an LG external USB DVD Drive for all of my disc related needs.

Good Luck and let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So its back to the drawing board, I need to try to startup my OS install disk =(

Well I tried this using the option key that leads me to choosing disk or HDD and it just refuses to start the darn disk =( o god the flashing lol

I remember I was able to get it to start up normally into login page awhile ago when i was messing around with the single user methods.

However on my last attempt, this method below i believe was the root of all this evil :

Reset 10.5 Leopard password

  1. Power on or restart your Mac.
  2. At the chime (or grey screen if your chime is turned off), hold down Command+S on your keyboard to enter single-user mode.
  3. This step is optional, but it’s a good idea because it checks the consistency of the hard disk before moving on. At the prompt, type fsck -fy and press Enter/Return. Wait for the checks to complete before going to the next step.
  4. Type mount -uw / and press Enter.
  5. Type launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.DirectoryServices.plist and press Enter.
  6. Type ls /Users and press Enter. This lists all of the usernames on the computer – helpful if you don’t know or remember what these are.
  7. Type dscl . -passwd /Users/username password and replace “username” with one of the users displayed in the previous step. Replace “password” with a new password XXXXX your choice. Press Enter.
  8. Type reboot and press Enter.
So for sure i should forget the whole safeboot thing cause i need a password XXXXX even apply it?

do you have any other suggestions other than buying an external dvd drive and/or taking it in for repairs?
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
After reading your Single User notes (root of all evil), if you did do it correctly, then you may be able to run the Safeboot, you would just need to use the new password XXXXX set up from the single user command.

Also, when you did the single user string of commands, you did put your actual username in for "username" in step 7 correct?

I'd suggest trying the Safeboot, but using the new password XXXXX set up first.

Then I'd try to get this thing running off of the Install Disk a few times.

Then I'd check and see if I could find an external USB drive to borrow or someplace whose return policy allowed me to "borrow" one to see if it worked first. You can also use another mac as the external DVD drive by putting the disc in the other mac. Shutting the other mac down. Connecting it to your MacBook via a firewire cable. Starting up the other mac while holding down the T button until the Firewire logo appears. Then starting up your MacBook into Startup Manager. It should be able to see the disc on the other mac as if it is an external DVD drive.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
IC well i stopped caring about trying to login I just want my mac book to get pass the apple loading screen and at least into the password XXXXX screen meaning actually starting up the mac book.

I'm going to focus all of my energy on this, just getting it to start up normally.

quick note on safeboot: this is suppose to what agian? get my mac book to load correctly as it did before right where it takes me to login screen? thats all i want right now.

- I hold onto shift key after pressing the power button( right before the screen lights up aka the gray screen). I continue to hold until apple loading screen pops up then i release.

- at this point i wait up to 20-30 min.

- should i still be seeing the flashing(screen turns on n off) problem while it is trying to load/safeboot?

thanks for all your patients with me.
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Safeboot: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1564

You sound like you are doing it right.

However, when you say the screen turns on and off, do you mean it flashes to black and returns? Or do you mean the backlight goes on and off?

What is on the screen when the flashing occurs? Give me the exact rundown of what happens when you try to boot up the mac normally. Then in safeboot.

Also, what initially caused you to go into Single User mode to reset the password XXXXX all of this began? Were you experiencing problems? If so, what were they?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oh my mac book was perfectly fine before hand don't worry no problems. Its just I was too impatient when i put in the OS install disk and it still required me to have my password XXXXX run the disk.

This lead me to using those god darn single user methods that screwed me over.

Ok to reiterate:
what i mean by flashing is exactly - it will go to the spinning circle screen trying to load, then after a while the back light turns off as if it shut down but very briefly then it starts up agian quite quickly back into the loading spinning screen as if it tried to load and couldn't so it restared itself. This happens chronically, I just leave it on my table watching it happen not touching it at all. It is having initial loading issues.

1 more thing to note:
  1. Type launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.DirectoryServices.plist and press Enter.
  2. Type ls /Users and press Enter. This lists all of the usernames on the computer – helpful if you don’t know or remember what these are.
  3. Type dscl . -passwd /Users/username password and replace “username” with one of the users displayed in the previous step. Replace “password” with a new password XXXXX your choice. Press Enter.
step1: after input it says Socket is not connected
step2: it wrked it gave me my user name and says shared next to the name.
step3: after input it says for single user mode you must run the following command to enable use of dscl.launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.DirectoryServices.plist
then i type reboot.


Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Ok, I just ready back through everything and am trying to get the full scope of this.

1) You forgot your password, so you tried to startup off of the Mac OS X disk, but it asked for your password.
This is where the problem started. If you were actually starting from the Mac OS X Install Disk, there is no login screen. There is no password XXXXX the Install Disk. It will instead boot up to a screen asking you to select your language.

2) You found a website online that directed you to reset your password XXXXX Single User Mode.
This undoubtedly wreaked havoc on your System structure creating the login loop.

3) We tried fsck repair in Single User. Volume appeared ok.
This is good, that means that the hard drive is still in good shape.

4) After attempting to startup from the Mac OS X Install Disk, we keep getting the login loop.
Same as before, if it is starting up from the Mac OS X Install Disk, there would be no login screen. It appears that the mac is unable to start from the disks and is reverting to the Hard Drive's System.

5) Safeboot attempted, still getting stuck in the login loop.
This tells me that the damage caused is so severe that the Safeboot is unable to load up even with all extensions and user data disabled (which is what the Safeboot does). It is a self diagnostic startup, but is unable to even get started apparently.

6) We are at a point now where I believe and "Archive and Install" is absolutely necessary to get you back up and running. However, we are still unable to get the mac to successfully boot up from the Mac OS X Install Disk. This needs to be the next major concern, getting the "Choose your language" screen to popup at startup.

Check the Mac OS X Install Disk. It is in fact the correct disk for this mac? It isn't scratched or damaged? It's Disk 1 (if there are more than 1 disk for this set)?

If the disk is correct, then we need to next confirm the method of startup. If trying the Startup Manager (option at startup), when the choice of startup disk pops up, you are in fact able to see the Install Disk and able to choose it? Next, if you try the boot up while holding down the "C" key, are you holding it down until the language screen or login window appears, or are you letting go at any point?

Last, we need to look at the Optical Drive. It's possible that the drive is unable to properly read the Install Disk... failing drive, dirty laser lens, drive just being a pain in the butt, etc, etc. The next thing would be trying to boot up off of the Install disk in an external drive or in another mac connected to this mac (but booted up in Firewire Transfer Mode while the disk is in it). Do you have access to an external drive and/or another mac that you can try this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My mac is a A1181 model and the OS X install disc comes in disc 1 and 2.

disc1: 2Z607 -2068
disc 2: 2Z607 -1842-A
perfect condition

Yes the startup manager wrks by holding option key.

however after selecting disc from the startup manager it will not load, same goes for selecting HDD.

I do not have access to an external drive, I might be able to use my friend's Mac so give me percise instruction for that please.

Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Put the Install Disk into your friend's Mac, then shut it down (with the Install Disk in it).

Make sure your mac is off.

Connect both macs together with a Firewire cord.

On your friend's mac, press the power button and release, IMMEDIATELY press and HOLD the "T" key. Don't let go until the Firewire icon pops up on the screen of your friend's mac. This means it is in firewire transfer mode.

On your mac, press the power button and release, IMMEDIATELY press and HOLD the "Option" key. Don't let go until the Startup Manager appears. You should be able to choose the Mac OS X Install Disk... which is located in your friend's mac.

If it starts up this way, then run the Archive and Install. BUT make sure you select the hard drive on your own mac and not your friend's. I don't think it will allow you to select the transfer mac, but just make sure you don't accidentilly.

Good Luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Where can i find a Firewire cord?

So after i load the OS X disc in my friends mac, and start up my own Mac into startup manager do i select the OS X disc or HDD ?
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
You should be able to pick up a Firewire cord at any Electronics Department or Office Store.

Yes, when you get into Startup Manager on your Mac, choose the Mac OS X Install Disk. You'll need to be booted from it to be able to "Archive and Install"
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am still going to try to safe boot it in the meantime until i can get a hold of a friends macbook.

Back when you said :
press and HOLD the "Shift" key until the gray screen and the spinning wheel pops up. DO NOT let go of the "shift" key at any point until this screen pops up. This is a safeboot. It can fix any startup issues the mac may be having. Note: Startup will likely take substantially longer than normal (20 - 30 minutes is not unheard of).

If I am waiting up to 20 min. what should i be seeing while waiting specifically so that i know I did it correctly?
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Specifically, it should't be flashing. It will just look like it's starting up. Maybe a progress circle (not the beachball though).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Im gonna go ahead and click accept will i still be able to ask you questions?
Expert:  Travis replied 4 years ago.
Yep. Just save this page into your bookmarks and return here. The question should stay open for roughly a week.

In the future if you have other questions, feel free to ask for me by name. I'd be glad (and honored) to help (try to help) again.

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