One of the most frustrating troubleshooting situations one may come across is when a user has forgotten his or her system password. As an independent consultant this is one the more common issues I encounter. Luckily, resetting a user or administrator password is pretty straightforward. The following tips work for any Mac running Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
To reset the Administrator's password:
- Insert the original system backup disc (the one that came with your machine). Reset your Mac holding the 'C' key down.
- When the installer window appears, mouse over the top menu bar, click on Utilities, and choose Reset Password.
- Select your boot drive and your account. Do not reset the root password.
- You may find it helpful to include a descriptive password hint (one that can jog your memory without easily giving it away).
- Click Save, quit the Installer, and reset your Mac. Your new password should work.
If you only need to reset a user's password, follow these instructions:
- Log in to the Administrator's account on your Mac and open System Preferences.
- Select Accounts and click the lock icon (lower-left corner) to unlock the panel preferences.
- Select the user's account that needs to have its password reset. Click 'Change Password' and enter your new password (and a helpful hint).
For more on resetting passwords in older versions of Mac OS X, read this Apple knowledgebase article.