Reset Forgotten Administrator and User Passwords in Mac OS X

Most computer power users have to remember passwords for several different accounts. From time to time, you may even forget something as simple as your OS X login password. No worries. You can recover or reset your password for a Mac computer with a couple of easy steps.

login osx

Mac OS X 10.2 and Up

Newer versions of Mac OS X have a convenient password reset feature for user accounts. Before you get started using this method, make sure that you are logged in with the administrator account.

Navigate to the system preferences window by using the path Finder > Applications > System Preferences or by clicking the Apple logo and selecting System Preferences from the dropdown menu. Click the Accounts icon from within System Preferences.

account icon

From the Accounts window, click the lock in the lower left side of the window to unlock it, if it’s not already unlocked. Select the username that’s password you want to change. Click the Reset Password button, or the Change Password button, depending on what version of OS X you are using.

Type in a new password for the user account, and type once more to verify. Click the Reset Password button and then OK to allow changes if a keychain verification prompt comes up.

password reset

OS X 10.1.5 and Earlier

Make sure that you are logged in with the administrator account. Navigate to the system preferences by clicking the Apple logo, and selecting System Preferences from the drop down menu. Click Users from the View Menu.

Assure that the lock in bottom left corner of the window is unlocked. Select the username for the account that you would like to change a password on. Click the edit user button. Enter a new password and reenter to verify. Click the Save button.

reset password early osx

If you forgot the password to your Mac’s main administrator account, you can still recover it. However, it’s a different process than resetting basic user accounts (featured above). To start, you need to located the Mac OS X install Discs that came with your Mac.

mac install discs

After you have your install discs ready to go, insert install disc 1 into your computer and restart the computer. As soon as you hear the Mac boot sound of OS X starting back up, immediately hold down the c key on your keyboard.

You can release the c key as soon as you see the Apple logo with the spinning loading wheel. This should boot from disc. If it does not, try it again, using the option key instead.

Upon booting from disc, click Continue on the first screen. When you get to the next screen, hover your mouse over the top of the screen to access the top toolbar. Click the Apple logo, or the Installer menu (depending on what version of OS X you are using). Click the option labeled Reset Password.

Next, it will ask you to select a hard drive. Select your Mac’s hard drive. Select your Administrator account username from the dropdown accounts menu. Enter a new password for the Administrator account, and reenter once to verify. Save the changes and restart your computer. Next time you login, you should have a new administrator password.

» Filed Under Mac OS X

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Category: Computer Tips

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