We recently bought a used iMac, (iMac7,1 running Mac OS X 10.4.11 Build 8S2167), from a garage sale.

When I plugged it in I saw that the previous owner didn't factory reset it.

He left his admin account registered with password, so I can't just erase his account and make a new admin account. Apart from this it limits me to some programs I'd like to install.

I don't have the installation disc I need (as read looking around through other forums).

And Command R is not working for me on startup. (or Control R since I'm using a Windows keyboard).

I've read that I can download a digital version of the installation program.

Can I start it up from a USB? as i do not have "FireWire" or another Mac.

If so can I have a link to the right torrent I'm looking for?

What are the steps I need to make this work...?

I have little to no knowledge about Macs, this is my first Mac.

  • 1
    "Control" on a Windows keyboard is not normally mapped to the Command key. Usually it is the "Windows Key" (a symbol with four rectangles).
    – mhopeng
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 23:05
  • And the "Alt" key is equivalent to the "Option" key. Control is Control :)
    – mhopeng
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 23:06
  • You should have purchased a new iMac! While your Mid 2007 iMac will support OS X El Capitan it will not support macOS Sierra, coming this Fall. It also probably only has 4 GB RAM and IMO OS X El Capitan runs poorly on only 4 GB RAM although YMMV. If you're near an Apple Store then take it there, they'll install OS X for you. Otherwise you'll need to have an 8 GB Flash Drive and a friend that has a Mac that can download the OS X Installer legitimately, not a torrent, and create the USB Installer from the legitimately downloaded bundle on Apple-branded hardware. Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 23:22
  • 1
    @user3439894 "should have purchased a new iMac" is unhelpful, presumably the asker chose a used machine because that suited his/her available budget.
    – nekomatic
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 11:09
  • Also 4 GB should be OK for moderate usage, but if necessary this machine could be upgraded to 6 GB: everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/…
    – nekomatic
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


Emerald, amigo:

Let's get your Mac working for you:

  1. Reboot the machine, holding down the appropriate keys on your
    windows keyboard to effectuate an Apple COMMAND-s. Two keys here, the 's' for single-user, and whatever key maps to the COMMAND, or APPLE key. If all goes well, then a nerd-screen, like a DOS prompt or UNIX shell will appear instead of the normal boot process.

  2. Please execute the fsck as it is suggested above your command prompt.
    Should be something like

          /sbin/fsck -fy
  3. Let's mount the root partition in read write mode:

          /sbin/mount -uw /  
  4. Carefully delete the one file in the way of your enjoyment of your
    new Mac -- no re-installation shenanigans required:

         rm -f /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
  5. Proper restart:

         sync ; shutdown -r now

Next, create your new admin account, as if this was the first time you ever used your new Mac.



  • 2
    I up voted this because it's an easy way to resolve the immediate issue. That said though, running Mac OS X Tiger is ill-advised as there are numerous security flaws in various software components of the OS that cannot be fixed as the version of the OS is no longer supported and hasn't be for many years. It can't even support a secure web browser and will not work with many commonly used web sites and will most likely not work with e-commerce sites. Even with the password issue resolved without having Mac OS X 10.6.8 installed the App Store cannot be used to install a later version of the OS. Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 1:40
  • 1
    So either a Mac OS X 10.6.8 Install DVD will be needed or Mac OS X 10.7 or later written to a USB Thumb Drive as an Installer. IMO, an iMac running Mac OS X Tiger is a boat anchor. Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 1:40
  • 1
    This one worked perfectly first time! Thank you!! You're a life saver!! :D <3 Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 20:20

The best way to get this Mac up and running will be to do an erase and clean install of the latest Mac OS from a bootable USB installer, which someone else with a Mac running a recent version of Mac OS can prepare for you by following the instructions here.

If you can't find someone to do this as a favour then an Apple Store may be able to do it for free or a local computer repair shop that knows Macs should be able to do it at low cost - although you might need to be able to provide proof that you legitimately own the computer.

A cheap and worthwhile upgrade to this machine would be to install a 4 GB RAM module in one of the two slots to take the installed RAM to the maximum 6 GB - RAM and other specs for this family of iMacs can be found at everymac.com (example).

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