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How do I reset my Mac OS X password without an install disk?

I'm currently in possession of an eMac G4 running OS X 10.4. I went to install some software, and found I didn't actually have the password. No one seems to know it, and it's not written down anywhere. These were purchased by the school many years ago and are not really maintained, since people just used Garageband mostly.

I went to look for the restore disk, and its nowhere to be found. How can I reset the password without a disk?

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marked as duplicate by slhck, Simon Sheehan, Daniel Beck, Wuffers, studiohack Nov 21 '11 at 2:43

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1 Answer 1

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It's been a while since I've done this in 10.4, but IIRC the procedure is: start the computer in single-user mode by holding down Command-S as it begins to boot. This puts you in a very minimal full-screen command-line environment, running as root. The first thing to do is check the file system integrity:

fsck -fy

If this reports any problems, keep running it until it says the disk is OK. Next, remount the volume to get write access:

mount -uw /

This shouldn't print anything; if it does print something, it didn't work and you should check your typing and try again. Next, you need to start up part of the OS:

sh /etc/rc

This'll run for a little bit, and probably print some random stuff. When it finishes and gives you a prompt ("#"), you're ready to do the deed:

passwd youradminaccountname

Obviously, put in the actual name of the admin account. Finally, reboot the computer normally:

shutdown -r now
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