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MacTechTrainer, Sr. Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 1700
Experience:  Apple Certified Desktop & Portables Technician, A+, Cross-Platform (Mac/PC) Tech - for over 14 Years
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I have a ibook G4 10.2. I purchased from a friend years ago.

Customer Question

I have a ibook G4 10.2. I purchased from a friend years ago. He had set the password XXXXX I never new. The other day I attempted to reset the password XXXXX using information I received online. The step I used are: 1. Reboot, 2. Hold apple + down after you hear the chime, 3. At text prompter enter commands (mount -uw/, rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone, shutdown -h now, finally reboot). After rebooting, I was able to change the password XXXXX the Accounts Window, however, everthing on my desk top is gone, meaning the desktop is clear. After playing with it, I found all of my folders in the harddrive, but I cannot get the computer, desktop, back to where it was originally. I should also let you know, I seemed to have added another Account, "System Administrator" which won't "highlight" so I can make changes. Do you know what has happened? Is this something you can correct for me. Thanks, Darin
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hello, and thank for seeking technical assistance for your Mac .I am Sr. Mac Support Specialist, TD at your service.

You are closer than you think. What you need to do is retrieve the files from your locked out Account(s).

Now that you have created a new Administrator account, which is your access back into your Mac, here is what you will need to do, to get your the files and folders from your closed account(s):

Try this:

• Click on Apple Menu (blue apple icon upper left side of your window)
• Select System Preferences > Accounts
• Open Accounts window
• You will see a list of all of the users on your computer
• Look at the bottom of the page and click the padlock.

It will ask you for the Administrator password XXXXX the login user you are currently in.
View Full Image

• Unlocking the padlock will enable you to make some adjustments in this Accounts window. Note: You will not have access to the other users, just the ability to add, change or remove settings for your current login user account.
To get to the files of your locked account(s), you are going to have to delete those accounts.
But do not be alarmed, there are two options to delete a user account.
Delete Immediately - This Delete completely removes all files and folder of the User account from the hard drive - This is NOT the one you want to use.

Ok - The OK button is your best friend in this instance, because although it deletes the User account, it actually takes the complete home folder of this user and transfers that folder with the User's folder on your Macintosh hard drive.

This folder is called Deleted Users, which contains the home folder of the deleted user is now viewed as a "Username.dmg" file.
**What is even better, is you can click on that .dmg file and it will open to reveal all the Home folder files of that deleted user account.
In essence, this is how you are going to get your files from the locked accounts back so you can make use of them.

• So now, select the Locked user account from your Accounts list and click the
"-" button as seen in this screen shot.

View Full Image

• When you click the "-" button, the User Account is not going to delete right away.

This is the window you will see that pops up:
View Full Image

What is nice about your Mac OS X system is that it will ask you first, and then
you will be able to proceed. This popup will also explain what each of the 2 buttons will do, so it takes the guess work out of the decision you have to make.

• Now go ahead and click OK button.
• Once the User Account has been deleted, as I mentioned before, the User account will be gone but not the Home Folder of that user.

• From this point, close this window or delete and OK any other locked
User Account until you are done.

•Now from your Desktop:
• Click on the Macintosh Hard drive icon and open it.
• Locate and open the Users folder.
•Click on the Deleted Users folder

This is what you will see:
View Full Image


**This is a .DMG file or a Disk Copy Image file , which will carry the name of the deleted user account and have all of the folders contained within.

• Now all you have to do is double-click to open the User.dmg and this is what
you will see:

View Full Image

You should now see all of the folders of the deleted User's Home folder.

From here you should be able to retrieve the files of your locked User accounts.

Do you have any questions regarding these steps?

I want to make sure this process is very clear for you.
If you commence to try these steps, remember just to take your time and
follow each step I have provided and you will recover your files and folders.

Thanks again for your patience!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am having trouble working through your anwser. The "-" under the Account section is will not highlight, the "+" sign is highlighted. Also, once we do get it to highlight, confirming I am deleting the "System Administrator" Account?
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hi Darin, thanks for your update.

In order for the Accounts in the sidebar to be active, you have to click on the Padlock button at the bottom of the window, this will activate a pop up window, asking you to type in the password XXXXX your new Administrator account.

Remember, when you went through the process, you initially described in your question, you actually created a brand new Administrator user account.

This account was created to allow you access back into your Mac. It will not allow you access to the files and folders to the previous account you currently are seeking to recover.

With the steps I provided in the previous reply, you are going to have to delete the other user account, but will be able to save its Home Folder. This folder will be found in the User/Deleted Users folder within your Macintosh HD, identifiable as a .dmg file.

Once you have clicked the Padlock and entered your password, please refer back to the previous instructions I provided.

You should be able to complete the process and recover your old files from the previous account.

I hope this update helps you. Again, let me know if you run into any challenges.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi again, On the Accounts page there is a place that says:
Name: System Administrator
Short Name: Root

Box that says: Change Password
If I click the "change password" it asks for the old password XXXXX I do not know this...... also then new password, varify etc.

This is the point I am stuck at. The padlock is unlocked, clicking on it again briefly says, "deauthenticating" then back to "click to prevent further changes.

Thanks, Darin
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hello again Darin

Ok once you have clicked on the Padlock and have entered your password,
You should now be in the Accounts window and should also see all of the accounts within the left side window of that Accounts window.

Let's start from there.
How many user accounts including the new administrator account you recently created, are present in the accounts window?

Also, how many of those user accounts are you trying to get access to?

I will be looking for your reply. Thanks!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
There are only two accounts, the original and the new "system admin." We need to delete one.

Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Hello Darin.

Select the Original as that is the user account, that you cannot access and need the files from correct?

Also make sure not to delete immediately, but click Ok- so you can preserve the files and folders of the original user account.

If you get to this point in Accounts, just before your select the delete option, and are still unsure how to proceed next, just stop and reply back to this post.

Let's get this issue resolved today. You been extremely patient and I want to reward that patience with a resolution!

I await your reply. Thanks!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok, I am to this point, however, I do not see where I can selected "Ok" or delete.

When I click on the original account, I receive a pop-up screen of:
Short Name:

Reset password XXXXX which I have originally did.

I'll be waiting for your reply. Here is my cell number if you think it would be best to discuss while trying to correct.

Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the reply Darin.

Unfortunately, I cannot call phone numbers as our service is via the online JustAnswer Email system.

To help me out a little bit more, you are trying to access the files of your original account, which you have been unable to do. Is this correct?

If your answer is yes, try these steps one more time.

How do I delete an account on my computer?
• Go to the Apple Menu and select System Preferences
• In the System Preferences window, click on Accounts
• Select the user you want to delete
• Click the Delete User... button

• A window will open asking you to confirm deleting a user. If you are positive you want to delete the user, click OK. This will delete the user from your system and move the contents of their home directory to the Deleted Users folder.

There is no way to undo a delete. You will need to create a new user account to recreate a user and manually change any settings you made.

However, any account with administrator privileges will be able to access the files from the deleted user account in the Deleted Users folder.

Do not delete the Emergency Access (InfoServ) account. This account is an emergency account that will allow Information Services to fix your computer in case something does go wrong with your system.

I am providing these steps for you because you are using the Mac OS X 10.2 operating system and this process I just listed above, is just for your

version of Mac OS X.

So do this and once you have deleted the Original user account per the instructions above, click on your Macintosh HD and locate the Users/Deleted Users folder and you will see the Original user.dmg file rig there. Click on it to open it and there all your files should be.

This is the proces, that will work, again, only if you cannot access the original account with the password XXXXX made for it.

I am confident this will be the fix you need.

Let me know how it goes. Thanks!