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Reset Mac Password – without a CD

October 4, 2012 - PC Dianogstic

Using a pretty nifty trick you can reset a forgotten Mac password without a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD. The steps may seem a little intimidating at first but I assure you it’s easy if you follow them exactly, here is exactly how to do this in three stages:

Stage 1) Boot into Single User Mode and remove a setup file

Stage 2) Create a New User Account upon System Boot

You aren’t finished, but the hard part is now over – no more command lines, you’ll now be in the familiar Mac OS X GUI to finish the password reset process. In this step we just create a new user account as if you just got a new Mac:

Stage 3) Reset the Forgot Password via System Preferences

You are almost done, now you just need to reset the forgotten user account password using the Accounts control panel:

Optional: If you’d like, you can delete the temporary account you created to reset the users password. This is wise for security purposes.

Here’s how this works: by deleting the .applesetupdone file, you are telling Mac OS X to re-run the setup wizard, which by default creates a new user account with Administrative abilities, which can then reset the forgotten password of any other user on the Mac. This is a great trick and excellent troubleshooting technique if you don’t have a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD laying around, which is pretty much the norm as many people tend to lose or misplace the installer disks that come with their computers. I have used this exact method multiple times to restore various Macs with forgotten/lost passwords.

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