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Ask Max: How do I find my system password?

Asked on 05/09/2007:

I am totally new with my new Mac and it keeps talking about the administrator and they keep asking for my password. This is my home computer and I use it for my own business at home. How do I get a password? I have tried doing what I have read on this subject without any success.


One of Mac OS X's best security features is that it requires a password for nearly any potentially hazardous change to your system. It can be annoying, but it keeps malicious software from installing without your knowledge. The Administrator password is created the very first time you start up OS X. If you only have one account on your Mac, then your standard account is the Administrator account and your password will work as the Administrator's password.

Now Apple knows that people sometimes forget passwords. However, Apple did not want to make it easy to reset a password for security reasons. As a security measure, what they did was to include a password-reset utility in every modern OS X install disc. Boot up off the install disc by holding down the C key on Restart. You will need to have the first disk of your grey restore discs or the OS X install disc in the Macs optical drive. After you pick your language you will see the main installer window. At the top of the screen are a few drop-down menus. Select "Reset Password" from one of the menus. Then select your account and reset the password.

Using a good password in OS X will keep you safe and help you control the changes being made to the Mac. Some people will leave it blank but even then you still have to hit OK before anything will install.

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