A few months ago, for reasons I am unaware of, Safari started to ask me for a password when I first opened it, and then periodically after that (about once every 3 new tabs I opened). I found that to get rid of this message I could either enter the correct password or simply click "cancel" twice.

This problem is documented here (I'm not the OP on these): https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2537287?start=0&tstart=0 and here: http://b.rthr.me/wp/?p=356

As one can imagine, this was very annoying and lead me to take action. I followed every piece of advice that I could (set date and time to automatic, reset Safari, try Chrome etc) and the problem still persisted.

However, I read somewhere that if I opened Keychain Access and deleted everything (!) then it would kind of 'reset' itself and work as normal again. Reluctantly, I tried this. It did not work... it made things worse.

The Problems I Have Now

  • Every webpage I go on, Safari brings down a notification saying "Safari can't identify the identity of the website website-name-here.com". If I click continue, I have to enter a password and the page loads (partially - see below). If I click cancel, the page will not load.

  • For some websites, some of the content is blocked. For example, on Google Maps, each and every 'map tile' just appears as a little blue square with a question mark in it. A question mark like this also appears, for example, where the 'user icon' should be (next to the username) of a user on this site (but not for every single user). This 'blocking effect' also means Netflix won't play anything that I've tried.

Additional Notes

  • I'm on a Macbook 3,1 (from 2007) with a broken superdrive and I'm running Mac OS X 10.5.8.

  • It seems as if I can't even upload images to help describe the problem. If I try to upload a screenshot, I get "security reasons, framing is not allowed".

  • possible duplicate of How do I restore the default certificate settings in Snow Leopard?
    – M K
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 11:37
  • @MK Notes: (1) I don't have a TimeMachine backup. (2) When I try the Keychain First Aid it fails. (3) The .keychain files that are supposed to be in /System/Library/Keychains (as referred to in the link you posted) are not there.
    – User 17670
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 11:49
  • The rollback part also says that you can do it from "...the install files from the OS (then you can extract them using something like Pacifist)" That, along with the location to restore to, may help.
    – M K
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 11:51
  • @MK I wouldn't know where to start with something like that - it's beyond my technical ability unfortunately.
    – User 17670
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 12:01
  • 1
    In that case, it looks like you would have to reinstall the OS and restore applications and data. I've provided the steps as an answer.
    – M K
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 12:11

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, based on your comments, it looks like your only option is to start afresh.
* Backup everything first (use Time Machine or just clone it using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner)
* Do a fresh install of OS X Leopard. You can do it from an external SuperDrive or using another Mac that has a SuperDrive, with this one put in Target Disk Mode
* Run Software Update to bring the system up-to-date
* Use Migration Assistant (under the Applications->Utilities folder) to bring over your applications and data from the backup

Also see Reinstalling Mac OS X without a DVD Drive - Target Disk Mode

  • Thanks for the suggestion, M K. I no longer have my Leopard disc. However, I would be willing to buy a copy of Snow Leopard. It's just that, as I wrote above, my superdrive is broken. Could I install Snow Leopard by another method? Should I take my MacBook to an Apple store or would they not help?
    – User 17670
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 12:12
  • 2
    I just updated the answer to use an external SuperDrive or to use target disk mode (if you have access to another Mac) since your SuperDrive is broken. It's preferable to use an external SuperDrive. Installing from another Mac using target disk mode requires a Mac of the same model to ensure that everything appropriate for your hardware is installed correctly. I'm not sure if Apple Store would really help for an OS that's several years old. As long as you have a good backup, this process should be easy and safe to follow.
    – M K
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 12:18
  • 1
    Taking it to the Apple store would give you several options and certainly a better understanding of how much work your options are. They might not fix it for you, bit they might also see something we can't since you brought it in.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 4, 2013 at 14:55

You have only two options when the system keychain is corrupt, missing or tampered with:

  1. Restore that System keychain files from a backup source that you trust (this can be another Mac running the same or similar version of software or a backup from that other Mac or your backup.) Since the system files start out the same on all computers, the chance of a conflict or your storing special, changed keys in system is low.

  2. Back up your current files (or the system) and try to reinstall the OS.

The implementation details of both steps 1 and 2 have several paths and many details, so once you've chosen one path, another question with exact details on your skill level and tools might be warranted.

Another way to state this would be to compare the the keychain to the timing instructions in a modern fuel-injected car. If you were to go in and delete the codes that tell when to open and close the valves and when to fire each spark plug, your car cannot run. It might run down hill (in neutral), and it might even start, but it's mostly or totally broken. Until you get those codes reloaded - the parts of your computer that need the system keychain will not work.

Also, this isn't a basic task - you may want to get someone that's reloaded a system keychain or handled an erase / reinstall / migrate parts of your data from the backup onto the clean system since you wouldn't want to have your files overwrite the good new system files with the broken ones you have now.

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