A friend of mine gave this MacBook to me because she bought a new one but she forgot to tell me the password. I can't talk to her for some days and need to use the MacBook now. Most probably I will have to boot from some Hirens CD or other similar CD for doing unusual things on your PC or laptop.

I don't have other Mac OS X computer. I only have other laptops which run on Windows.

I also shut down the MacBook and turned it on while I was holding COMMAND + R, but the MacBook didn't get to Lion Recovery mode. Holding those keys while the MacBook is booting should work all the time, right?

I am also thinking about deleting the whole Mac OS X and putting Ubuntu or Windows on it. However I would like to keep the Mac OS X in it since I don't have time installing new operating system now.

  • Start it in Verbose mode!
    – Ruskes
    Oct 1, 2013 at 23:13
  • Verbose mode doesn't work... I tried it... There were some "scripts" like in UNIX command line showing on the screen, similar to when you see Linux booting, something BSD something... ;o) but finally I got back to the same screen where it asks me for password.... Oct 1, 2013 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


Once you are in single user mode you will need to do the following: 1) mount the file system as read-write 2) navigate to the /var/db directory 3) remove a special file that tells the computer it's already been set up 4) reboot the machine 5) go through the set up process to create a NEW admin account 6) log into the new admin account and reset the password on the original password via the system preferences

The details: Boot to single user mode, then type the following:

mount -uw /
cd /var/db
rm .AppleSetupDone

At this point the system will reboot and go through the "out of the box" setup process which will allow you to create a new Admin account. The original account will be intact.

After you've created the new user account, you can go to System Preferences, Accounts (might be Users & Groups, they keep changing the name!), and reset the password on the original account.

Keep in mind that if you do this you will lose all stored passwords on the original account, at least until the original owner is able to give you the old password.

Of course, as the new owner, you might want to just use the new account you create and delete the old one...


This solution worked:

  1. Hold command-S on startup.
  2. Run mount -uw / to modify (-u) the status of the root filesystem (/) to make it writable (-w). fsck -fy is not necessary.
  3. Run launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.Apple.DirectoryServices.plist in 10.6 or earlier, or launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.directoryd.plist in 10.7 or later.
  4. Run dscl . -passwd /Users/username password, where username is replaced with the username of the account and password is replaced with the new password.
  5. Run reboot.
  • 1
    This worked perfectly in a macox 5.8.x (old macbook air) Nov 23, 2019 at 8:47
  • Also worked for my Power Mac G5 (running some version of Leopard, I forget which exactly).
    – Vikki
    Mar 7, 2021 at 3:01

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