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Richard, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 44593
Experience:  Apple Computers Specialist
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I've forgotten my login password ***** can't change privileges

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I've forgotten my login password ***** can't change privileges on anything. imac won't let me open most files!
Thank you for your question, my name is ***** ***** I look forward to assisting you.
Please note, click on Reply to Expert to reply to me, a rating is only needed when we are finished.
Please, follow the instructions below to reset your password:
- Insert the Mac OS Install disc in the Mac and restart the Mac
- When you hear the startup beep, hold down the C key until you see a spinning gear.
- Choose Utilities > Reset password
- Follow the on screen instructions to reset your password.
Restart the computer.
If you do NOT have an Installation CD/DVD, you can reset your password ***** following the instructions below:
Please, follow the instructions below:
- Turn your Mac off
- Hold down the Command key and the letter S while you turn your Mac on
- After it boots up, wait 10 seconds and then let go of Command S
- Type: mount -uw /
- Press the Enter key on your keyboard
- Type: launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons /
- Press Enter
- Type: ls /Users
- Press Enter
- You will see your username listed there.
- Type: passwd username
----Example, if your username is ***** ***** would type: passwd joejoe
- Press Enter
- Type your new password (it will not show anything)
- Press Enter
- Type your password *****
- Press Enter
- Type: rm -rf /Users/username/Library/Keychains/login.keychain
- Press Enter
- Type: reboot
- Press Enter
Now your username will have the new password ***** you just set.
If you have any problems, or would like any additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.
And if you can take a second to rate my service, that would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How do I get back to you to rate your advice once I have done all this and restarted?

Just return to this web page please and you can reply here like you are doing now.
Let me know if you have any difficulties please
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I followed your second option, having no CD or DVD

Fine until I got to point where my username was listed. But it would not accept my answer to Type: passwd username though I tried every interpretation of the instruction I could think of. Was always told it was a processing error.


On exactly which line are you referring to of my instructions?
They do work so you mus be typing something wrong. No problem, lets see what line your referring to
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

line 11 - you will see your username listed there

This worked OK. There was not only my username but also my password ***** screen

(both of which I had forgotten)

line 12 - Type: passwd username

I did this and got a processing error message.

I tried entering the info I'd been given several times, and even in different formats but got the same error.

I went back to line 1 - Turn your Mac off and started again. I did this three times several times with the same result.

Interestingly one of the computer problems had sorted itself - I could open files previously closed to me, but the keychain still won't accept my previous password (i.e. the one I discovered during this process)

ok, but you dont type in username you type in your actual username
so if its Joe you would type in Joe instead of username
Did you do this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I assume the username was the first of the words that appeared on screen and that I only put in the actual word passwd spelt like that rather than the old password ***** now know??

yes correct, the only readon it wont work is your not typing in the username correctly though.
How certain are you that you did this correct, else we will need to reinstall the mac.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am fairly certain I typed it in correctly, but when I tried it again to check, it doesn't even get as far as line 4. Command s types lines of sssss and error messages such as single user boot -- fsck not done.

I really have tried many times, and left computer turned off for long periods to see if it recovered, but no.

I previously did the command s with no error messages until line 12 or 13.

No idea why I am getting the error messages so much earlier. I tried ignoring them and continuing, but then the computer didn't recognise anything as a valid command. What do I do now?

ok, you will then have to do a reinstall of the Mac.
If you need to keep any data, you would need to take it into a store have have them take out the hard drive and copy off the data. Programs you will have to install again.
Then to do the reinstall, Choose Apple menu > Restart, and then hold down the Command (⌘) and R keys while the computer restarts.
Select “Disk Utility,” and then click Continue.
Select your startup disk from the list on the left, and then click the Erase tab.
From the Format pop-up menu, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled), type a name for your disk, and then click Erase.
After the disk has been erased, choose Disk Utility > Quit Disk Utility.
If you’re not connected to the Internet, choose a network from the Wi-Fi menu in the right corner of the menu bar (in the top-right corner of the screen).
Select Reinstall Mac OS X, click Continue, and then follow the instructions.
Let me know the results please
Richard and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I've got an external hard disk for backup, and assume this will have all my data on it - but will it be safe to load it back on the iMac after reinstall?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have an external hard disk, and assume all my data is saved on it - but will it be safe to load that after reinstall?

ok, I would not assume.. but make sure to actual copy your files to it.