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Is there any way of booting up and erasing the user account and creating a new one. I can't login, so I don't know what version of OSX this is.

It's a white Macbook with a 2.16GHz processor. Model A1181

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So, you've acquired a Macbook and you can't find the previous owner to ask about the login...Hmmmm.... – dsteele Dec 18 '12 at 0:01
Nope, the owner doesn't remember the password, and I'm not too handy with Macs. Thought I'd give it a shot though. Thanks – EGHDK Dec 18 '12 at 0:14
You can also create a new admin account in single user mode. – user495470 Dec 18 '12 at 8:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Looks like you have a 2007 MacBook running a Core 2 Duo. If it has enough RAM installed it should run Lion, but Apple dropped official support on Mountain Lion. Unless it's been "recently" updated, it's probably running Snow Leopard.

Good news is that you can reset the password... But you'll need to boot into Safe Mode and execute some Terminal commands. Terminal provides unadulterated access to the full power of OS X's Unix core. You can also do severe damage with a few misguided keystrokes.

  1. Start with the laptop powered off
  2. Power it up, holding the Command key and the S key at the same time
  3. The MacBook will boot, but lines of code will scroll by. When it stops adding new lines, type the following:
    • /sbin/fsck -y
    • /sbin/mount -uaw
  4. To get a list of users accounts on the laptop (based on their home directories), type:
    • cd /Users/
    • ls
  5. The folder names usually match the user accounts on the system. Assuming the account to reset is bob, type the following:
    • passwd bob
  6. Be sure to substitute bob with the actual username to reset.
  7. The system will prompt you to enter a new password and then confirm it.

You've reset the password. Repeat steps 5-7 for any other accounts on the machine.

To reboot into the "normal" OS X type: - reboot

When prompted, login to that user account with the new password.

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You won't have changed bob's keychain password. That probably is not a big issue. I imagine your purpose is to be able to get into the system preferences and create yourself a new account. But if recovering bob is your goal, then you'll need to destroy and recreate the keychain (losing all of its contents), or figure out what the password was. – nsayer Dec 18 '12 at 6:06
@Nsayer: That is a good point, and one I took for granted. This method will at least get EGHDK into the system so he can see what's there and if anything is worth recovering. – TomUnderhill Dec 18 '12 at 8:29
Yep, tried it today. Worked perfectly! Thanks! – EGHDK Dec 19 '12 at 19:56

If it has been upgraded to Lion, then it might have a recovery partition on it. Try holding down command-R while you boot it up. If you get into recovery, then you should be able to perform a wipe and reinstall.

If it's not running Lion, you will probably need to obtain a Snow Leopard DVD to do the same thing. Once you've installed SL, you can upgrade to Lion.

I do not believe Mountain Lion is an option for this machine.

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