I have a problem with my MacBook Pro 2010 13 inch, 2.4 GHz. Originally I had Snow Leopard installed on my Mac, then I was trying to upgrade it to Lion (official version from App Store).

During the installation, an error occurred and I got a kernel panic. But that's not exactly the problem. I found out that the laptop had had a firmware password set by somebody (not me).

None of the boot modifier keys (except option) appear to work. When I press option, it asks me for a password. Some people told me to switch the RAM slots or take one out and then turn on the computer holding ++P+R. That didn't work either. Still see the password prompt.

Any ideas how to reset it?

  • You should explain what is currently working. Can you still boot on Snow Leopard OS? – Pierre Watelet Dec 22 '11 at 9:14
  • No.nothing is working. the only thing I can do is to turn the computer on and then there's a grey screen with kernel panic message. installation CD is not seen, i suggest because of that firmware password – Alice Fatfox Dec 22 '11 at 10:03
  • Try running AHT (Apple Hardware Test) by holding "D" while booting. btw, have you upgraded/changed the ram? – mspasov Dec 22 '11 at 11:25
  • Alice: May I ask who set the firmware password in the first place? @mspasov the AHT resides in /System/LibraryCoreServices/.diagnostics , so re-installing Mac OS probably deleted it. – Asmus Dec 23 '11 at 13:35
  • I think that Alice has also lost her internet connection 2 hours later... – Pierre Watelet Jan 10 '12 at 13:27

Not sure if this is too late of an answer. I know you've already attempted to disable the password, but try these steps exactly:

You can remove the firmware password by changing the RAM configuration, booting up to the startup menu, shutting down and changing it back. Basically, if you have two 1GB chips of RAM in there now, you can remove one of the chips, start up holding alt/option, shut down and put the other chip back in. This will remove the firmware password.

Now, you can follow these instructions for doing the erase and install.

Good luck!


Matt's answer should apply to a 2010 MacBook Pro but it won't work for newer machines.

MacBook Air (Late 2010) and later, MacBook Pro (Early 2011) and later, iMac (Mid 2011) and later, Mac mini (Mid 2011): Recovering a lost firmware password

Only Apple retail stores or Apple Authorized Service Providers can unlock these computers protected by a firmware password.

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