Reset Mac OS Mavericks or Mountain Lion Password

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So after a lot of requests from our users here is a guide about Reset a Mac OS X Mavericks or Mountain Lion Password.

One of the many changes in newer versions of OS X is how password reset is handled, earlier versions of Mac OS X would have a password reset utility easily accessible from the Utilities menu, but it’s not more available, and for some extra security you should now have access to a password reset utility from the command line in recovery mode. Don’t make the command line sound complicated though, as it’s really quite easy to use, and we’ll walk through the entire process for OS X Mavericks (10.9), Mountain Lion (10.8), and Lion (10.7).

We are actually going to discuss two of them tricks, and they work with or without internet access and do not rely on third-party tools.

Method 1 – Reset a lost Mac OS X password with recovery mode

Important: You must boot from a recovery disk for this to work, and the Mac must be running OS X 10.7, 10.8, and 10.9. New Macs include a native recovery mode via a boot partition, but a homemade recovery drive or startup disk will also work.

  • Hold down “Option” during startup and select the “Recovery” drive from the boot menu
  • Wait for the “Mac OS X Utilities” menu to appear, indicating that you have booted into recovery mode
  • Click on the “Utilities” menu and select “Terminal”

Launch Terminal from the Mac OS X recovery menu

  • Type the following:
  • reset Password

  • Confirm the user account, then the password change and reboot Mac OS X as usual with your new password

This replaces the “Reset Password” menu item that was previously present before OS X, which existed in Snow Leopard and before, and one of the two original methods of resetting a forgotten password in more technical ways. Why the change to the Terminal method with newer versions of Mac OS? Probably for more security, especially now that recovery partitions are standard on Macs.

The above method is by far the easiest, but if it is not available for some reason, you can choose this secondary method trick.

Method 2 – Delete AppleSetupDone and create a new administrator account

Like previous versions of Mac OS X, the latest OS X releases share a more nontraditional and technical approach to user account password reset. In this case, you can still delete the AppleSetup file, which will restart the “Welcome to Mac OS X” installation assistant and create a new administrator account. You can then log into that new administrator account and reset your original account password, or simply copy your old files if you prefer.

In the Terminal of the Recovery Drive, type:

rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

Then reboot from the menu item or by typing ‘reboot’ in the command line.

Follow the installation procedure as usual, create the new administrator account and wait for Mac OS X to start up as usual with the new user account. You will not see any of your trusted files or settings yet, and this is normal as you will need to reset the original password. Here’s how:

  • Open “System Preferences” and click on “Users & Groups”
  • Click the lock icon in the lower left corner and authenticate so you can make changes to user accounts
  • Select your original user account from the user list on the left, then click “Reset Password” button at the right
  • Reset a Mac password from System Preferences

  • Enter and confirm the new password
  • Close System Preferences and reboot

You can now log in to the original user account with the new password you just set. After logging in to your original administrator account, you can return to Users and Groups and delete the temporary administrator account you created.

These two methods should also work when booting from a Mavericks, Mountain Lion, or USB Lion installation disc, but where possible you’ll find that it’s much faster to use the recovery drive that’s already running on all normal OS X installations.

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Reset a Mac OS X Mavericks or Mountain Lion Password: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: Reset a Mac OS X Mavericks or Mountain Lion Password


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What is actual time in which this method complete?


The time to complete the Reset a Mac OS X Mavericks or Mountain Lion Password tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?


Apple

What are the supported Operating system?


mac OS



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