I would like to change a user password for a guest installation of Snow Leopard Server.

I've looked around, and found that one proposed solution was to hold Command-S after the chime. I tried several times, and never had it boot any differently.

I have the installation disk, and it's a guest on OSX High Sierra.


Thanks to @Tetsujin's kind help, I got in Single User Mode.

Kind of.

But if this is Single-User Mode, it's the most noop of a Single-User Mode I've seen in any Unix. The text appears clipped, although that's tolerable; what I don't understand is that none of the commands generate any output besides the shell giving another prompt.

I started to try to mount the filesystem to change the password, but this seems a broken Single-User Mode. Is there anything else I should be doing to get a Unix command line?

Single user mode screenshot

  • Is this a password for the VMWare app [I use Parallels, so not sure of VMW's setup], or just one of the user accounts in OS X? If it's user, then why not just use the users & groups panel? – Tetsujin Oct 26 '17 at 6:43
  • It's the (one) regular user account that I presently need to log in normally. – Jonathan Hayward Oct 26 '17 at 6:50
  • Then do it from the Users & Groups pref pane... or do you not know the existing password? – Tetsujin Oct 26 '17 at 6:57
  • I do not know the existing password. That is why I want to reset it. – Jonathan Hayward Oct 26 '17 at 7:13
  • You should have mentioned that in your question - Cmd/S is VMWare's 'take snapshot' so will override Single User unless you change the key commands in prefs. Answer added. – Tetsujin Oct 26 '17 at 7:39

From VMWare KB - Switching Mac OS to Single User Mode

To switch into Single User Mode:

Note: Single User Mode significantly limits the functionality of the operating system. You do not have access to any portion of the normal Mac OS graphical interface. VMware recommends that you only use Single User Mode if you have experience with the operating system and already know how to use this Mac OS feature.

  1. Shut down and then power on the computer.
  2. Immediately press and hold Command + S.
  3. Release Command + S when you are at a shell prompt.

Note: To leave Single User Mode type exit and press Enter.

If you are attempting to start up a Mac Server OS virtual machine in Single User Mode, Command + S attempts to take a snapshot of the virtual machine. Therefore, you must remap Command + S to be sent a different key stroke.

You can remap a different key combination on the host Mac to send Command + S to the virtual Mac. Shift + Command + S is already assigned, but Option + Command + S is a valid alternative.

To remap the keys:

  1. Open Fusion.
  2. Go to VMware Fusion > Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Key Mappings.
  3. Click the + button to add a shortcut.
  4. Under From:, select Option, Command, and S (from the dropdown).
  5. Under To:, select the Windows key and S (from the dropdown).

Note: In newer versions of Mac OS X, you need to type S in the right text field.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Close the Preferences window.
  3. Shut down any open virtual machines.
  4. Quit and reopen Fusion.
  • Thank you; I got into Single-User Mode but encountered difficulties (see screenshot and additional information in edited question). Now I'm scratching my head at Single-User Mode's behaviour. – Jonathan Hayward Oct 26 '17 at 10:35

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