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I am unable to lock the Keychain Acccess on either of two macbooks. The login password is not accepted on either one.

Is there a special step/process for setting up a keychain password - and it is not synced with the login?

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If you have iCloud keychain sync enabled the "local" keychain will not have your account password any more. If you reset your account password using the recovery drive the keychain password will be the old account password.

If you know your old password, use that password to update your existing login keychain:

  1. Open the Keychain Access app, which is in the the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose “Change Password for Keychain 'login.'”
  3. Enter the old password of your user account in the Current Password field. This is the password you were using before the password was reset.
  4. Enter the new password of your user account in the New Password field. This is the password you're now using to log in to your Mac. Enter the same password in the Verify field.
  5. Click OK when done, then quit Keychain Access.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201609

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