Apps

Reset a Mac admin password with the OS X Reset Password utility

Bill Detwiler shows you how to reset a Mac OS X local admin password with Apple’s Reset Password utility.

When users power on a new Mac for the first time, OS X's Setup Assistant will prompt them to create a primary user account and supply a password. By default, this initial account acts as an admin account for the machine. For many individuals, this is the only account they will ever use.

Unfortunately, many users set their Macs to automatically log in as the machine boots, and (not having to enter their password on a regular basis) they quickly forget it. Then when they need to perform a critical system update or install a new application they can't, because they don't remember their password.

Luckily, Apple includes a Reset Password utility on the OS Ten Install DVD that ships with new Macs. During this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how to reset a Mac's admin password with the Reset Password utility.

For those who prefer text to video, click the View Transcript link below the video player window or read Erik Eckel's article, "Rescue Macs with lost admin passwords using Reset Password utility".

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

4 comments
clibby
clibby

Thanks for the OSX password reset tip. I love the out-takes at the end of the video too. From your description and snoop0x7b post it would appear that anyone that stole my Macbook can easily reset my administration password with the apple+s boot method or by using any OSX 10 install DVD. That makes the password almost useless unless I'm missing something. With the Windows method, whilst creating a Password Reset Disk is a manual somewhat user unfriendly step, the disk is then specific to that user and so becomes an additional security factor when the disk is stored securely and separate from the machine. The problem is that most Windows users won't do this important task.

snoop0x7b
snoop0x7b

This is something they've had since the beginning. Oh and for bonus points, you can do it without an install DVD. Boot holding apple+s: mount -uw / rm -rf /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how to reset a Mac OS X local admin password with Apple???s Reset Password utility. Although Windows has a similar feature (Windows Password Reset Disk), the Microsoft tool only works if the user creates the disk first. Apple's Reset Password utility does not require any prior action by the user. Which solution is the better option? http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/itdojo/reset-a-mac-admin-password-with-the-os-x-reset-password-utility/2815

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Good to know. Thanks for sharing this additional information.