Reset forgotten admin password under OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion

I recently reinstalled an old Mac for a friend and then - because it had to be quick - typed in a pointless password as the admin password, which I was sure I would remember later. Of course, my weak brain let me down again and I forgot. For security reasons, of course, I only entered nonsense for the password, and so I was standing there and was practically only able to reinstall OS X Lion. After the computer told me that it would take about 6 hours to load the installation image (thanks to Telekom for the exhilarating DSL 3000!), I thought I could bridge the gap by looking for another solution to this Reset the admin password. And actually I found it on Google, and I'm happy to share the instructions in the hope of helping other forgetful people:

Start with the recovery partition

The first step is that the computer is booted from the recovery partition. For new Macs this is done like this:

  • Click on the apple at the top left and then select "Restart"
  • During startup, press the "cmd" + "r" keys and hold them down until the Mac has booted into the recovery partition

For Macs that still have a CD drive or if you have a USB stick with a Lion installer, you can also select this as the startup disk (under system settings) and then restart. Then it also boots up in the recovery partition.

Reset password with the terminal

The next step is this Port to open and then reset the password via the command line. This works like this:

  • click on "Utilities" or "Utilities" at the top of the menu bar
  • in the Finder window that now appears, start the "Terminal" program
  • In the terminal you type a "resetpassword" and press the Enter key
  • you will then be asked on which volume you want to reset the admin password
  • you select the volume and choose the user whose password you want to reset
  • then enter the new password (with confirmation) and the password information in the lower three fields and click on "Save"

After saving, you get a message that the keychain will be recreated. The old key ring can no longer be unlocked with the new password, so a new one is created. If you have confirmed the warning messages, go to the apple menu and restart and then the new password should work the next time you log in.

The instructions as a video

A nice person replayed and filmed the whole procedure on his Mac and you can find the film here:


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