TR Dojo: Reset a Mac’s admin password with the Reset Password utility
July 22, 2011, 9:42am PDT | Length: 00:04:19
Bill Detwiler shows you how to reset a Mac OS X local admin password with Apple’s Reset Password utility. Once you’ve watched this TR Dojo video, you can find a link to the original TechRepublic article and print the tip from our
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Bill Detwiler: Lost or forgotten the password to a localuser account on your Mac? Luckily, there’s an app for that.
I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'llshow you how to reset a user account password with Apple’s Reset Passwordutility.
When users power on a new Mac for the first time, OS Ten’sSetup Assistant will prompt them to create a primary user account and supply apassword. By default, this initial account acts as an admin account for the newmachine, and for many individuals this is the only account they will use.
Unfortunately, many users set their Macs to automaticallylog in as the machine boots, and (not having to enter their password on aregular basis) they quickly forget it.
Then when they need to perform a critical system update orinstall a new application they can’t, because they don’t remember the passwordthey entered when the machine first setup.
Luckily, Apple includes a Reset Password utility on the OSTen Install DVD that ships with new Macs.
To use the tool, boot the Mac while depressing the C key.
Then insert the OS Ten Install DVD. The OS Ten Installerwill start. Click Utilities and choose Reset Password.
Once the utility opens, specify the volume containing theuser account you wish to reset (by default most main Mac volumes are namedMacintosh HD) and from the supplied user account drop-down menu, select theprimary account that is inaccessible.
Enter and then re-enter a new password within the providedfields, and click Save. If you wish to reset permissions and access controllists (ACLs) for the user’s Home folder, click the Reset button.
Once you’re finished, just OS Ten Installer and restart theMac.
Now if you’re wondering whether the Reset Password tool canbe used for nefarious purposes—it can. An attacker with physical access to yourmachine could use it to reset your password and access your account.
If you’re concerned about this possibility, you shouldconsider using another Apple tool—the Firmware Password utility.
As the name implies, this tools lets you configure afirmware password, which among other things will prevent others from startingthe computer using a boot DVD or secondary operating system.
To enable Apple’s Firmware Password, boot the machine fromthe OS Ten Install DVD, click Utilities and choose Firmware Password Utility.
For Leopard and Snow Leopard users, the Firmware Passwordapplication will open. Enter the password within the Password field and enterthe password a second time within the Verify field. Just don’t forget thispassword.
Also, this method’s not 100 percent foolproof. Any localadministrator can log back on to the system and reverse the setting. Andsomeone with physical access to the computer can always remove the drive,connect it to another system, and with the right tools access the data.
Well that does it for this edition of TR Dojo. Thanks toTechRepublic blogger Erik Eckel, who put this tip together.
And as always, for more teachings on YOUR path to becomingan IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, sign-up for our newsletter, orfollow me on Twitter.
Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.