Resetting Forgotten OS X 10.5 User Password

I have an older G4 Mac Mini I use for testing the Mac app I’m working on (Here, File File F.K.A. Welcome to Your Mac. It’s just nice to have a machine that I can test both 10.4 and 10.5 as well as PowerPC compatibility.

Yesterday I needed to do some updates on the 10.5 system and couldn’t remember my password.

Google was my friend and showed me an Apple Knowledge Base article to solve the problem.

The steps to restart are as follows:

  1. Restart into single user mode (hold Command+S during boot). (Note: that if you use a non-Apple keyboard that’s WindowsKey+S)
  2. At the “#” prompt run:
    • mount -uw /
  3. Now run:
    • launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.DirectoryServices.plist
  4. Note your short username and user directory by running:
    • ls /Users
  5. Run the following with your username instead of “username”:
    • dscl . -delete /Users/username AuthenticationAuthority
  6. Now reset your password by running:
    • passwd username
  7. Now reboot by running:
    • reboot

This is a bit more complicated than it seems to have been in 10.4 Tiger.  I’m fairly certain you could skip steps 2 – 5, since it didn’t use the same directory service backend.

Note: I don’t use secure file vault, but others on the web have noted that resetting your password in this way will lock you out of your data. In fact, it looks like there is not a way to recover/reset that password, which is part of what makes it secure. 🙂

Thanks Google and Apple!

Source: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1543

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