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How Do I Recover My Administrator Password On an Older MacBook Pro?

I have an old MacBook Pro 15″ (Model A1260, running OSX 10.6, I think) that I use occasionally to create documents in an older version of Adobe InDesign. But this month I’ve forgotten most of my administrator password, so have been unable to log in or use my MacBook Pro. But I need to access and update the InDesign documents for some classes I’m teaching next month. I’ve looked for solutions about how to reset my administrator password on Apple’s support page. I have the original install disk, and I have all my files backed up via Time Machine on an external drive. Is there anything I can do to log in? Or do I need to take my Mac to the Apple store? Thanks for any help you can give me.
Jon Tardiff

Comments: 5 Responses to “How Do I Recover My Administrator Password On an Older MacBook Pro?”

    7 years ago

    If you were using FileVault then there's nothing you can do. The user account is encrypted and without your password, you can't decrypt it. If not, then there may be a way. I would see if there is a local Mac shop and call them and ask if they do that sort of thing. They basically need to "break in" to the account. There are a variety of ways, such as mounting the drive in an external enclosure.

    But if you have all of the files backed up on Time Machine, then there is really no need for any of that. Just connect the Time Machine drive to your current Mac and look for the files you need in there.

    Jon Tardiff
    7 years ago

    Thanks Gary,
    For your prompt response and your helpful advice. I appreciate it!
    I will bring my old MacBook Pro to the local Mac shop and see if they can unlock it. I need to actually use the old MacBook Pro because it runs an older version of Adobe InDesign, which I don’t have installed on my newer Mac, so just accessing the files via Time Machine would not help. Filevault is turned off, tho.
    PS: Your podcasts are very useful and always interesting. Thanks for your great work!

    7 years ago

    Jon: If you have it all backed up, then it may just be a matter of reseting the Mac back to factory condition, then restoring from Time Machine.

    7 years ago

    Thank you for this Q & A. My daughter-in-law passed away and my son wants to use her macbook as opposed to purchasing a new one, but she placed a password and he doesn't know what that was. To reset the Mac back to factory condition, what is the process? I have discs of the original factory OS and update discs to OS 10.6..

    7 years ago

    Dan: It depends on which model you have. Very old MacBooks have a different process than newer ones. It sounds like you may have an old one if it came with discs (new Macs don't even have a DVD drive) and if those disks are 10.6. Still, try Internet Recovery first ( If that doesn't work, then the Mac is too old to support that method. Instead, you'll need to do it using those discs. Boot with it in the drive, holding down the C key. Then you'll need to use Disk Utility to wipe the drive and then reinstall the OS.

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