Reset an OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard user’s Password Without a CD

Reset an OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard user’s Password Without a CD

If you have lost a password to an OS X user account on your Apple Macintosh, this will help you reset it. This guide works for all apple computers including but not limited to MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and MacBook Air.

  1. Start by having your computer shut off.

    Power it on, and hold Command (Apple Button) + S at the same time.

  2. Soon you’ll see the computer booting up with lots of lines of code scrolling by. When it comes to a rest, type the following.

    /sbin/fsck -y

    /sbin/mount -uaw

  3. Now we’ll get a list of the users on the computer based on their home directory. Type:
    cd /Users/
  4. When you see the folder name (99% of the time this will usually match the user on the system, unless you’ve renamed the account afterwords) of the user you want to reset, type the passwd command. Assuming that my account name was john, I’d type the following:

    passwd john

    Substitute john for the username you wish to reset.

    You’ll now be prompted to enter a new password for john twice. Once to enter it, the second time to confirm.

  5. After this is done, type:
  6. You can now login to that user account with the new password.

    2011-08-24: HTML error fixed causing vital information in step one to be omitted from view.

  • Doug


  • Jose Victor Herrera

    Worked like a charm, thanks!

  • Mike Elmore

    I don’t get this part. Why is it separated? Or is there a prompt just before the second line? This isn’t clear to me.
    /sbin/fsck -y/sbin/mount -uaw

  • Tanner Williamson

    Yes, each line is a separate command to enter. So enter /sbin/fsck -y *and then* enter the next line, /sbin/mount -uaw

  • Jason

    Works like a charm. Tested and verified its working! :)

  • Wendy

    I typed the first line, pressed enter to go to next line, but it loads additional information about checking folders, etc. and then ://root# comes up again so I type that second line, but nothing comes up but another line with ://root#…no user names listed. What am I doing wrong?

  • Tanner Williamson

    Can you confirm which version of OS X you have? The instructions vary from 10.6 to 10.7 and 10.8.

  • Alex McDonald

    same thing happen to me am using osx 10.6.8

  • Lucas Lena


  • Pier-luc L. Saindon

    Hellow Guys, i’ve tried many times to go in the Single-user mode with command + s and it never happened….. please help me if you got another way to go into . i’m able to whrite ans read my hard drive with another version of osx on another drive.. HELP MEEE

  • Tanner Williamson

    If you’re using a newer version of the operating system, use Command + R when booting to get to the boot screen. Then, from the menu, open terminal. Once terminal is open, run “resetpassword” command in the terminal without the quotes.

  • Jonah

    When I type the second part of what you told me to do it comes up with no such file or directory.

  • Jonah

    You told me to write cd /Users/ ls right

  • Tanner Williamson

    Please restate your question more clearly.

  • Tanner Williamson

    Que version de OS X tiene?

  • Jay Hoffman

    Brillant! Thanks!!

  • Paul Haan

    thanks, you saved my life!

  • Amy Pezzicara

    This just came in handy, and saved me a trip to the Genius bar. Thanks!

  • Amy Pezzicara

    BTW, I stumbled at #3. It important to know that you type: “cd /Users/” then press enter and type “ls” with a lowercase “L” as in list, then press enter again (don’t type the quotes)

  • eddy

    thanks for publishing the tip. Now I regain the control.

  • nae

    When I get to reset password “new password” it doesn’t type anything

  • Tanner Williamson

    It is typing. The input is hidden, so nothing shows up on screen when you type in your new password. Just make sure you type your password, then press enter to confirm.

  • janet

    froze when prompted to type a new password

  • Tanner Williamson

    It most likely isn’t frozen, it is just waiting for you to type the input and press enter. You won’t see the input as you type. Just type your password even though you don’t see it doing anything, and press enter. Then do it a second time to confirm when prompted.

  • Nastasha Hillyard

    It worked thanks!!!!

  • Moe Better 11

    It worked for me – though it did change the boot up from auto login to having to actually type the userid & pwd. The old *nix is often silent when things work – or fail.

    Thanks for the tip! Yes, 1068 is the best MacOS ever!

  • Jheffzkie

    My command s is not working and i tried the command r but it shows me a gray padlock and i dont know the password of that gray padlock because of that i cant go in utilities ang recovery boot i dont know what happen andtwhat i gonna do to this. Plz helped me

  • Alex McDonald

    is there a space between /fsck and -y

  • Kae

    THANK YOU! I didn’t know how to change my password for years and just kept putting it off until I saw this post. And guess what? I was finally able to do it! Thank you so much.

  • Dee

    I bought a used Mac OSX 10.6. I need to reset the password, I have been unable to get the computer to boot in the utility mode. I have followed all the instructions for powering off the computer, then using command+s, even command+shift+s and command+r.
    Can someone advise?

  • Mis SF

    This absolutely worked with a little ‘trial and error’! Hope you don’t mind I broke it down “barney” style to help the unsavvy pc users.
    1. Power down computer
    2. Power up and on gray screen press and hold at the same time the command button and the S button
    3. (FYI-these commands vary from each PC but similar. They will appear in lines above) after screen loads and at the prompt TYPE THE FOLLOWING:
    /sbinfsck -y (press enter) (space after k)
    /sbin/mount -uaw (enter)(space after t)
    /cd /Users/ (enter) (space after cd)
    ls (enter) (lowercase L and s)
    passwd name to be changed (press enter) (space between passwd and users’ name that needs to be changed)
    (Type new password you choose) (shows up blank)(press enter)
    (Retype password) (shows up blank) (press enter)
    reboot (press enter)
    (This will automattically bring you to the login screen!!!!)

  • JoseAngel

    I bought a used iMac and this helped me a lot!! thanks!! by the way, scroll through comments to find clarifications. It´s all there!

  • Matthew Ryan

    Whenever I type in /sbin/fsck -y and hit “enter”, I get “fsck0hfs: Volume is journaled. No Checking performed. fsck_hfs: use the -f option to force checking. Any help?