Reset a mac’s password with no disk

May 7, 2014 in Blog

Today I had the luck to have a couple iMacs fall in my lap. One had snow leopard and the other had Lion. Both of these, it turns out, can be altered without having a system disk. If you are locked out of one of these, here’s how to change your password…

Snow Leopard (and possibly older systems pre-snow leopard)

Snow leopard requires a little command line…

  1. restart your mac and hold command/s (windows key/s on a pc keyboard)
  2. when the command line stuff stops scrolling by, type /sbin/fsck -y
  3. After the system checks itself type /sbin/mount -uaw
  4. Change the directory to users, type cd /Users/
  5. Type ls to see a list of users
  6. Choose one and type passwd username (the username from the list you chose)
  7. enter the password twice
  8. type reboot
  9. done!
  10. *you might have an issue with keychain when you get back in, I just chose ‘make new keychain’ as the old one won’t match up anymore.

Lion and Mountain Lion:

  1. restart the Mac and hold command/r
  2. choose english
  3. an install screen appears, ignore it and select terminal from the menu bar (utilities menu I think)
  4. type resetpassword into the terminal
  5. follow the instructions that appear in the GUI