I am trying to help someone recover data from a non-functional MBP (it was dropped).

I have the internal drive mounted in a sled and connected to another MBP via USB. I can boot off of the drive holding the Option key and get the login screen but, as the password is unknown, I need to boot the drive into the external drive's recovery partition, open up the Terminal and execute the resetpassword command.

How can I do this?

4 Answers 4


You don't need to boot from it to recover data - in fact it's probably far easier if you don't.

If you have the drive mounted from an external USB, you can just Get Info & check 'ignore ownership' - that will work unless the drive is encrypted.

If it is, you need the password.


I suggest you switch HDDs with the one on the sled and have it put on the functional MBP and just access the recovery partition from there. :)


It turns out that the drive was encrypted with File Vault. Thankfully I was able to "hack" the password from hints that the person I am helping gave me.

  1. Boot up in Single User Mode off the USB. Hold ⌘ Command S while turning on your Mac
  2. At the command prompt, execute mount -uw /
  3. Execute resetpassword

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