reset administrator password

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
I just bought a used Emac running 10.3.9. The previous owner does not remember the administrator password nor did I realize how important it is to have. I have the original install discs and did boot using the disc. I then went under the install menu and chose reset password. I changed the user password but have been unsuccessful at changing the admin password. The drop down menu in password reset gave me the option of Administrator (root), Application, or finally user. I have read a couple of articles cautioning not to change or work with root changes. Would greatly appreciate help in changing the Administrators Password. Thanks Steve

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    Can you not reinstall the system when you're booting off of the disc?
  • Reply 2 of 8
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,476moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    II have read a couple of articles cautioning not to change or work with root changes.



    They are just warning you that as root user, you have complete control over the whole system so you can delete stuff that OS X normally tries to stop you deleting. It doesn't damage the system by resetting the password.



    You shouldn't need to reset the root account though. If there's only one user account then that user is the admin user. Root user has privileges above that and it's disabled by default. Resetting it will just enable it.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    They are just warning you that as root user, you have complete control over the whole system so you can delete stuff that OS X normally tries to stop you deleting. It doesn't damage the system by resetting the password.



    You shouldn't need to reset the root account though. If there's only one user account then that user is the admin user. Root user has privileges above that and it's disabled by default. Resetting it will just enable it.





    I did just change the password for the single user via the install cd but whenever the window requiring the admin name and password came up and I typed in the password for the single user it still said not a valid password. As for just reinstalling the OS I do not know if I then will be asked for the original admin password. If you have any other thoughts they will be appreciated.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    vandilvandil Posts: 187member
    Never trust someone else's OS install. You never know what they did (or didn't do).



    Sounds like you should seriously consider erasing the drive and installing OSX from scratch.



    1. Boot from the CD.

    2. Choose Disk Utility from the menu. Erase that hard disk. Now all vestiges of that bork'd OS install are gone.

    3. Now proceed with Mac OS X Setup and you'll be fine.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,476moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    I did just change the password for the single user via the install cd but whenever the window requiring the admin name and password came up and I typed in the password for the single user it still said not a valid password. As for just reinstalling the OS I do not know if I then will be asked for the original admin password. If you have any other thoughts they will be appreciated.



    You can reboot holding command-s, which will take to to a terminal. Then type the following hitting return after each line:



    mount -uw /

    rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

    reboot



    Careful with the middle command. When typing, hit tab to auto-complete the path.



    When you reboot, this will start the default OS X setup and allow you to create your own user, which will by default be an admin user. You can then remove the other user but you may want to copy the home folder contents.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    You can reboot holding command-s, which will take to to a terminal. Then type the following hitting return after each line:



    mount -uw /

    rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

    reboot



    Careful with the middle command. When typing, hit tab to auto-complete the path.



    When you reboot, this will start the default OS X setup and allow you to create your own user, which will by default be an admin user. You can then remove the other user but you may want to copy the home folder contents.





    How much of the middle command should I type before hitting tab? Second question is if I make a mistake can my fall back be to erase the drive and reinstall the OS from the original install discs? Thanks for the great info. Steve
  • Reply 7 of 8
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,476moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    How much of the middle command should I type before hitting tab?



    You can hit tab whenever you like, it really just narrows down the pathname. I would type all the way up to /var/db/.AppleS and then hit tab. There are no spaces in the pathname and the capital letters need to be used.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    Second question is if I make a mistake can my fall back be to erase the drive and reinstall the OS from the original install discs? Thanks for the great info. Steve



    Yes, assuming the bundled discs were 10.3+. Sometimes users bundle older systems. I don't think you'll mess this up though, it's a fairly straightforward procedure. Print out the commands or write them down before booting into what's called single-user mode. Then just type it exactly as written.



    More detailed steps are:



    reboot

    hold down command-s until the screen goes black with white text

    some text will come up and then stop

    at the cursor you start typing the commands (don't worry if you fans kick in, this is normal)

    Firstly type

    mount -uw /

    then hit return - this mounts your drive for writing

    then do

    rm /var/db/.AppleS

    hit tab to complete the full thing so that it shows

    /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

    then return again

    finally type

    reboot

    hit return



    The system should then boot up into the animated intro sequence.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    You can hit tab whenever you like, it really just narrows down the pathname. I would type all the way up to /var/db/.AppleS and then hit tab. There are no spaces in the pathname and the capital letters need to be used.







    Yes, assuming the bundled discs were 10.3+. Sometimes users bundle older systems. I don't think you'll mess this up though, it's a fairly straightforward procedure. Print out the commands or write them down before booting into what's called single-user mode. Then just type it exactly as written.



    More detailed steps are:



    reboot

    hold down command-s until the screen goes black with white text

    some text will come up and then stop

    at the cursor you start typing the commands (don't worry if you fans kick in, this is normal)

    Firstly type

    mount -uw /

    then hit return - this mounts your drive for writing

    then do

    rm /var/db/.AppleS

    hit tab to complete the full thing so that it shows

    /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

    then return again

    finally type

    reboot

    hit return



    The system should then boot up into the animated intro sequence.



    What I tried before using your recommendation was to create a new user then declare them also as an administrator. Then log in as the new user which gave me the ability to remove the original owner name and admin rights. It seems since there was no master password set up I was able to add the second administrator. Thanks for your advice and help. Steve
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