MacBook Password Resetting without CD

While I was in the middle of something important (if you can call watching “The Big Bang Theory” as such), I got a call from a friend. Sensing the urgency in his voice when he said “Dude, I forgot the Password on my MacBook Pro”, I quickly shutdown my Mac and rushed to his aid.

So, what does one actually have to do if he forgets his Mac password. These things do happen, but it’s no cause for panic. You only need to reset the forgotten password. It’s not rocket science, but it could be a bit tricky. There are several ways to do it, but we’ll focus on the easiest/best method; This one does not require a Mac OS X installer CD which makes it so much easier. No more searching for forgotten or misplaced installers.

Resetting Mac Password – without a CD

One can actually reset a forgotten Mac password without a Mac OS X installer CD/DVD using a pretty smart trick. The steps may be a little daunting initially, but it’s actually pretty easy if you follow them to the dot. Here’s what you should do, just three phases:

Phase 1) Boot into Single User Mode, then remove the setup file

  • Restart the Mac holding down the Command+S keys, this will take you into Single User Mode and it’s Terminal interface
  • You have to check the file system first: just type in
  • fsck -fy
  • Next, mount the root drive as writeable so that changes will save by typing:
  • mount -uw /
  • Then, type the following command exactly, followed by the enter key:macbook
  • rm /var/db/.applesetupdone
  • After removing the applesetupdone file, you need to reboot by typing ‘reboot’ and press Enter

Phase 2) Create a New User Account upon System Boot

It doesn’t end there, but the hard part is done – no more command lines, you’ll now be in the familiar Mac OS X GUI to finish the password reset process. In this step, you just create a new user account as if you just got a new Mac:

  • Upon reboot, a window showing the traditional “Welcome Wizard” startup screen will apear. It’s like when you just first got your Mac.
  • Follow the welcome wizard and create a new user account – making the account name different from the account whose password you want to recover
  • Continue on and boot into Mac OS X with this newly created user account, this new user account is an Administrator and has administrative access

Phase 3) Reset the Forgot Password via System Preferences

You are almost done, now you just need to reset the forgotten user account password using the Accounts control panel:

  • Once you are booted into Mac OS X, click on the Apple logo and then navigate down to “System Preferences”macbook
  • Click on the “Accounts” icon in System Preferencesmacbook
  • Click on the Lock icon in the lower left corner of the “Accounts” preference window and enter the newly created user credentials, this will enable you to change other user accounts and reset other users passwords on your Mac.
  • On the left side user panel, select the user account containing the forgotten password
  • With the user of the forgotten password account selected, click on the “Reset Password” button
  • Enter a new password for that user, be sure it is meaningful to you so you don’t forget it again!
  • Close System Preferences and reboot the Mac
  • Now, you can already login to the previously inaccessible user account using the newly reset password! All user files and settings are maintained as before the Mac password was forgotten.

Optional: If you’d like, you can delete the temporary account you created to reset the users password. This is better for security purposes.


SO… There you go folks… Hope this helps.

6 Responses to MacBook Password Resetting without CD

  1. Louis Cyfer says:

    There is more simple :

    1. Boot into single user mode (press Command-S at power on)
    2. Type fsck -fy
    3. Type mount -uw /
    4. Type launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    5. Type dscl . -passwd /Users/
    – replace with the targeted user and with the desired password.

    • Marc Rafael says:

      Hello Louis,

      Thank you for that input, that was indeed easier. Pretty helpful. I’ll bear that in mind the next time someone asks again…


  2. Cri says:

    I have a MacBook OS X 10.6.8…

    I did all of the above and nothing has worked… ):

  3. Mark Ellingso says:

    Thank you for this information. I had an old MacBook Pro in storage I hadn’t used in years and I could remember my username or password. This worked to get me back in.

  4. Rykken says:

    I have tried multiple ways already to get rid of the old administrator, but comman-s does nothing when dtarting up my computer. I do believe this is because the administrator blocks it. Almost all options in the system preferences and the keychain apps are blocked also, so that rules out multiple methods. If anyone has an alternative that does not involve either pressing keys while starting or restarting the computer or going in to system preferences or keychain, that would be great.

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