Keychain errors when starting from Mac OS X 10.6 Install disk

"The system was unable to unlock your keychain" may be an error message users could encounter when starting their Mac from the Mac OS X 10.6 Install disk after changing their keychain or user password.

"The system was unable to unlock your keychain" may be an error message users could encounter when starting their Mac from the Mac OS X 10.6 Install disk after changing their keychain or user password. Options to proceed are to "Continue log in", "Create New Keychain", or to "Update Keychain Password". We take a closer look at these options so you know what to do if you encounter this issue.

This issue arises after attempting to login to your Mac from the Snow Leopard install disk. If you have recently changed your keychain password or your user password you will be confronted with these options:

  • "Continue log in"--Choosing this option leaves everything as is (your keychain password and your user password will be different). You will be alerted with each subsequent login.
  • "Create New Keychain"--If you do not know the original user password, you should select this option. This will create a new login keychain with the same password as the user account. Subsequent logins should no longer show this alert.
  • "Update Keychain Password"--Choose this option to be prompted to enter the original keychain password (generally the user password). Doing this will change the login keychain to match the user password. Subsequent logins should no longer show this alert.
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