I thought we were out of luck, until I ran across a solution in Apple's discussion forums that showed me how to reset the admin password without a system disk.
Table of contents
- Method 1 – Reset a Lost Mac OS X Password with Recovery Mode
- Mac OS X (10.7, 10.8) - Resetting a Forgotten Account Password
- How to reset password for Mac OS X Lion | MacYourself
- How to reset the user password in OS X Lion and newer OS X releases
Method 1 – Reset a Lost Mac OS X Password with Recovery Mode
Seems simple, right? But there are a few caveats here. First, as the box above points out, resetting a lost password won't change the login keychain password for that account.
- How to reset the password in MacOSX Lion/Mountain Lion when forgotten or lost!
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This means that the user's keychain—which stores things like email passwords for Apple Mail, Wi-Fi passwords, and so on—won't be usable unless you recover that original password. Unfortunately, you'll have to re-enter all of those passwords in a new keychain, which OS X will prompt your user to create the next time he logs in.
Mac OS X (10.7, 10.8) - Resetting a Forgotten Account Password
Second caveat: You can't reset the password on an account you're currently logged into unless you know the existing password, so log into a different user account if you need to make changes. But if the sole administrator password is the one you've lost, see below. Lastly, the account you're trying to work with can't be logged in using fast user switching. See how my "karma" account is greyed out in the second screenshot above, with an orange checkmark next to its picture?
How to reset password for Mac OS X Lion | MacYourself
That's because it's still logged in, so if I need to reset that user's password, I'll have to log him out first. OK, so here's a pickle.
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What if the password you can't remember is your administrator password, and it's the only administrator account on your Mac? That'll mean that when you try to log in as a different user, you can't even unlock the System Preferences pane because you don't know the only existing administrator password!
You're totally screwed, right? Well, maybe, but not where your Mac is concerned. If you set things up ahead of time, you can use your Apple ID to reset that password, and I wrote an article on how to do that a while back.
How to reset the user password in OS X Lion and newer OS X releases
Press your user and type your password. Finally, reboot, and you will have changed the user password successfully. This doesn't work for FileVault. If you forget your password with FileVault, you lost your data. If you used OS X Recovery to reset your password , you may be unable to use your old keychain after following those steps. Communities Contact Support.
Sign in. Browse Search. Ask a question. User profile for user: Desktops Speciality level out of ten: If you can log in your user account and you remember your password: