Resetting password on a Macbook Pro 10.6 Snow Leapard

Posted on 2010-08-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
I've tried this with no luck:

1.Boot into single user mode (press Command-S at power on)
2.Type fsck -fy
3.Type mount -uw /
4.Type launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.DirectoryServices.plist
5.Type dscl . -passwd /Users/username password, replacing username with the targeted user and password with the desired password.

After running step 5 I get this error:

<dscl_cmd> DS Error: -14009 (eDSUnknownNodeName)

I have a user account that doesn't show when using the password reset tool.  I tried this method and it doesn't work either.  I can see the users folder under /Users but can't seem to reset the password.

Any suggestions?
Question by:GDavis193
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Expert Comment

ID: 33504285
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Expert Comment

ID: 33504298
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 33504840
If it's the admin/root password, then boot from the installation DVD and there is an option from the menus once booted to the installer which lets you do this.

If it's a user password, log in as root and open a terminal window and type:

passwd [username]
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Author Comment

ID: 33505051
ok so I tried that but it shows Unknown user name /Users/<username>

If I ls -l in the Users folder I see the folder but it looks a little different than the other folders.. ie:

-rw-r--r--       1    root           wheel        0    Jun 30  2009  .localized
drwxr-xr-x+  13  HBADMIN  staff          442 Aug 23  11:40 HBADMIN
drwxr-xr-x+  17 186430343 2054444   578 Jun 30  10:42 <username>

There are numbers instead of descriptions.  I can access and move around the <username> directory.


Author Comment

ID: 33505098
And it's a regular user Im trying to reset the password for.  root and an admin account both work fine.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 33505434
It looks like something you did with dscl may have screwed up something... ...did it look like that (the folder) before the dscl command?

What are the contents of the folder looking like?  i.e. is everything inside the folder still intact? Movies, Photos, Documents, Library etc..

If it's truly screwed then see if you can rename the folder, delete the original user (but not user folder), recreate the user, login as root, copy the contents of the original folder into the new user folder.

Expert Comment

ID: 33505467
Yeah, from root or another admin, delete the user and safe the folder.

Recreate the user. Move content back..

Any chance the user comes from AD?? (those numbers look like AD user id's..)
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Expert Comment

ID: 33505470
If both the root and admin pw are working, you could just login as one of them and reset the password in the accounts pane or in terminal type passwd username.

Author Comment

ID: 33505519
Thats the problem - the user account doesn't show in the User Accounts utility.  From what I understand the laptop WAS joined to the domain at one point but has since been removed.  The user logs in locally.

So how would I delete the user account from a terminal session or from Command+S at the chime screen.  Please note - I AM A MAC NEWBIE.

Yes, the contents of the users folder all appear to be 100% intact.

LVL 15

Accepted Solution

roylong earned 2000 total points
ID: 33505571
so try this:

create a new user, with the same user name - best to do this from the GUI logged in as admin/root user (Accounts pane in System Preferences).  See if it says that user already exists or not - if it lets you create the new user then you know something is royally screwed with the original user.

Copy the content into the newly created user folder and then log in with the new user name and see what happens.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33514925

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