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Need help setting Mac passwords when old pw's are unknown

Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:49 pm
by hariwanna
I recently acquired a mid-2011 27” iMac and I’m preparing my old mid-2008 24” iMac for resale to a new owner. I used Disk Utility to do 7 wipes of the hard drive and reinstalled Snow Leopard using the Apple retail DVD. I need to do a couple of additional software updates and change passwords and user ID’s for Keychain and for the system administrator function.

I thought I had successfully reset the user ID and password for the system administrator.  Instead I managed to lock myself out of the system admin. function and I can't figure out how to delete my personal info out of the admin password function and finish up some other updates.  When I tried to use it, the OS didn't recognize either the old ID and PW or the the new ones.  The OS says that lacking the system admin. passwords I need to open Keychain to be able to reset the system admin. ID’s.  I’m the 2nd owner of this iMac and I've never been able to use its Keychain because I don't know what the 1st owner's passwords were for Keychain.

I have been using a 3rd party Snow Leopard manual, "Teach Yourself Visually--OSX Snow Leopard" but the book left out any mention of Keychain and the book's description of resetting the admin. passwords doesn't work.

The book was published before Apple put SnoLeo on the market in '09.  The iMac left the factory with OS 10.5 and the 1st owner updated it to SnoLeo using the retail Apple DVD.
I need help with how to get Keychain to allow me to control it then allow a reset of administrator info and the delete of my old info.

Re: Need help setting Mac passwords when old pw's are unknow

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:48 am
by Stephen Hart
If you have the install disc, you can use that to start up and then change the password.

Or just reinstall and choose the wipe and install option.

I'm confused about why you did a secure erase of the hard drive and then put personal information on the drive. Or did I misunderstand?

Re: Need help setting Mac passwords when old pw's are unknow

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:11 pm
by hariwanna
I have the Apple install SnoLeo DVD. When I tried to use it change passwords it wanted the old password info which I no longer have. Without the earlier user ID and working passwords it then requires Keychain access which I never had. It's catch 22--no user ID's and passwords = you don't get to change anything. I also need to use a valid system admin. sign in to install any software or sw update.

The personal info was put in for me by the 1st owner when I purchased the iMac. It's in the file/print sharing area. Even though I've never used it, I want to get my name out of it and that requires passwords and/or Keychain access which I've never had. The personal info in sharing does not get wiped out with "wipe and install" reinstallation of the OS and the old system admin. passwords are also left behind after wipe and install.

Re: Need help setting Mac passwords when old pw's are unknow

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:10 pm
by Stephen Hart
If you erase the internal hard drive and reinstall the OS, it's nearly impossible for any normal person to retrieve any data from that drive. That process will definitely erase any personal information you had on the drive.
If you want to be absolutely, NSA sure, remove the old hard drive, hit it hard a few times with a hammer, put it in recycling, install a new hard drive and reinstall the OS. There's really no way short of destroying the old drive to be absolutely sure. There are many companies that will shred your drive, just google "shred hard drive."

Safely selling an old Mac is not really that difficult unless you're a spy:

For more on this.