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Ask Max: Lost Firmware Password

Asked on 09/16/2008:

I own a MacBook 2.16 Duo Core. My problem is that I have forgotten my Admin Password. I also have Firmware protection activated. I have tried everything that I know to gain access, only find disappointment. Is there anything that I can do which would allow me to regain access? Or would I have to send it to Apple for repair? Thanks you thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.


When is comes to misplaced Admin Passwords, there are some steps outlined on Apple's support site:

Lost Firmware Password

If the Firmware password is lost, follow these steps. This procedure works on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintosh computers.

Important: ESD Precautions - To avoid damaging components, be sure to follow Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)-safe repair practices.

  • Shut down the computer.
  • Gain access to the computer's RAM slots.
    (Detailed instructions by product are available from the CIP page)
  • Add or remove a RAM DIMM to change the total amount of installed RAM.
    For example: If the computer has two RAM DIMMs (128 MB DIMM and 64 MB DIMM) for a total of 192 MB of memory, remove the 64 MB DIMM. This changes the total memory of the computer to 128 MB RAM. If the computer has a single RAM DIMM, you can change the total memory by adding a DIMM of any compatible size.
    Note: Removing a computer's only DIMM is not an option and will prevent the computer from starting up.
  • Turn on the computer and immediately reset PRAM by holding the Command-Option-P-R key combination. Press the keys until you've heard two successive startup sounds.
  • Open Firmware password protection is now disabled. Shut down the computer and return it to its original RAM configuration.

Then use the Password reset utility when booted from the OS X install DVD and reset your admin password.

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