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how to override password for re-installation of a lower O.S.

by ejmaso / October 12, 2011 11:49 AM PDT

My deceased mother-in-law (bless her) bequeathed me her Macbook 7.1 but not the password! It is running 10.6.4. In order to install new software I know I will need my own Admin password.
I tried booting to a licensed CD for OS 10.5 from my Imac, but the former Admin password was required. I guess there are two questions:
1. how to circumvent the lost password with a newly installed OS?
2. whether the operating system from an Imac will even work on the Macbook if I can get around the password problem?

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All Answers

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by Jimmy Greystone / October 12, 2011 12:00 PM PDT

First it makes a difference if we're talking about an EFI password or an OS password.

If you hold down the option key while booting, and you get a password prompt at a gray screen, that's an EFI password. You bypass that by removing one RAM module and then resetting the PRAM 2X in a row. If the laptop only has one RAM module, you'll need to get a second one. After resetting the PRAM 2X with an altered amount of memory, you should be able to get to the boot picker, and boot off a DVD or what have you.

If it's an OS password, that can be reset by booting off the OS restore DVD, then once you select a language in the Utilities menu there's a password reset option, which should be pretty self-explanatory. You can use any OS restore disc that will boot on that unit, not sure if a 10.5 disc will cut it, but just ignore the message saying how you can't install this version of OS X on this computer. You should still be able to access the Utilities menu.

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I'm going for the OS password
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 12, 2011 10:39 PM PDT
In reply to: First

and the reason that the former Admin password was required when you attempted to boot from the licensed CD, was because you put the CD in and then double clicked the "Install" button in the window that opened.

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follow up on re-install when Password is lost.
by ejmaso / October 14, 2011 10:03 AM PDT

The CD is labeled OS X Install (from my Imac for OS 10.5). Is there a DIFFERENT CD for a RE-installation? The only somewhat relevant option in the Utilities on my current CD is "Remote Install." I have not tried connecting the crippled Macbook to my working Imac and trying this "remote install." --is that a work-around for the impediment of not knowing the original O.S. password?

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If the disc will boot
by Jimmy Greystone / October 14, 2011 10:41 AM PDT

If the disc will boot, you can remove the admin password with it. I'm not sure if it will boot or not however, but it can't hurt to give it a shot.

As for reinstalling the OS, you CANNOT just use any random GRAY colored OS install disc on any random computer. Those are locked to a specific model. There are ways around it, but as it's legally questionable, I won't get into it.

What you probably want to do, is go to your local Best Buy or Fry's or whatever, and get a retail copy of Mac OS X 10.6. I think Apple is still selling it on their website as well. Should cost you about $30US. Use that to install the OS onto the laptop. Trying to install an older version of OS X onto a newer model system usually just ends up causing problems. You can usually get away with it if the new unit was released right around the same time as the new OS came out, but you can't always count on that.

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Agree on all points
by macnerd10 / October 14, 2011 5:09 PM PDT
In reply to: If the disc will boot

Apple does sell SL retail disk that will boot any computer with 10.6, for $29.95.

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Not sure where your answers came from but,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 14, 2011 10:59 PM PDT

they were not in response to my post as I didn't ask any questions.

<div>But to answer your questions.

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