I've been stupid and need rescuing!

I've created a new login on one of our macs, but when I went to login with the new user and password, the desktop was completely empty - missing all of the programme icons, etc. Something's wrong, I figure.

I work out that I haven't allowed enough user privileges for the new login. Simple, think I, I'll simply go back to the main login and allow more user privileges. BUT - when I went back to the main login, it turns out that someone who has long since departed did set themselves up an owner login and password. I now can't get into the main system to change the user privileges for the new login - so the computer's now defunct!

There must be a way of overriding the owner's password, but I can't find it on 'Help' and so I'm getting desperate. Please can anyone help me before I get fired!

Many thanks, Beth :cry:

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All 4 Replies

The only thing I can think of is *gasp* a reformat. In all honesty, if this is a mission-critical computer, one wouldn't want someone to be able to override an Admin's security. Apple can't provide easy ways of overriding security. :( Not that I know of at least. Do you have AppleCare for free apple tech support?

*shrug* you could always enable root.

Even if you did not enable the root user in NetInfo, it is very simple to become the root superuser with unlimited privileges. You need to have an admin account and start a Terminal session. In the Terminal, you type this: % sudo su
Then enter your own password and presto uid 0 is yours... % id
uid=0(root) gid=0(wheel) groups=0(wheel), 1(daemon), 2(kmem),
3(sys), 4(tty), 5(operator), 20(staff), 31(guest), 80(admin)
[robg adds: I find it much safer to just use sudo followed by the specific command to be run; the above command sets you as the root user until you type exit. One little simple mistake (rm -rf ... in the wrong directory, for instance!), and you'll soon regret your all-encompassing root privileges. sudo some_command times out after a couple minutes, requiring your admin password again to activate the next time you run it.]

taken from mac osx hints http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20031124042814764

after you log in as root, run pico on the password file and delete the hash for your password. then su <your login here> and passwd <your password here> to change the password

of course this is how I would do it on a linux machine. ymmv

I don't think he has access to any privileged accounts at all.


Thanks all so much. Someone else has 'had a go' at the machine, and was able to guess the password, (great security eh?) so luckily no need to reformat, but thanks for the advice, much appreciated.


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