Lost password cannot get past login screen


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Selling old MacBook, and need to wipe the drive. The password can't be retrieved or remembered. Is it possible to bypass the login screen and access the laptop? It hasn't been used for several years and whatever's on it is severely out of date. Or should I just remove the drive? Thx so much for the help.
 
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If you are still able to reboot into Recovery mode (Command-R), you can launch Disk Utility and completely erase the drive. After doing so, you can do the next owner a favor by installing the current macOS on it. Omit the migration process.
 
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I can't even get to Recovery mode. It just goes to the login screen, and that's the issue. I no longer have the very old password and the clue doesn't work. I need to bypass the login screen screen somehow so I can do Command-R, because on restart it still goes to the login screen. Attempted this several times to no avail. Again, thx so much for your kind help. Cheers!
 
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To get into Recovery, reboot, wait for the startup chime, and immediately hold down the Command and the R keys at the same time. Keep holding them down until the  comes up. The next screen to come up will be the Recovery screen. Go up to the menu bar to locate and select Disk Utility.

If Command-R is not working, perhaps your keyboard is not coming to life early enough. If it’s a Bluetooth keyboard, you will probably need to connect it to USB. By the way, Recovery mode will need an internet connection if you plan to download and install a new macOS.

By the way, your Mac might not have the startup chime by default. I could tell you how to enable it but you can’t, not at this time, since you cannot even log into the system. If your Mac does not sound the chime, just give it a couple of seconds after you press the power button, then immediately hold down Command-R.
 
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To get into Recovery, reboot, wait for the startup chime, and immediately hold down the Command and the R keys at the same time. Keep holding them down until the  comes up. The next screen to come up will be the Recovery screen. Go up to the menu bar to locate and select Disk Utility.

If Command-R is not working, perhaps your keyboard is not coming to life early enough. If it’s a Bluetooth keyboard, you will probably need to connect it to USB. By the way, Recovery mode will need an internet connection if you plan to download and install a new macOS.

By the way, your Mac might not have the startup chime by default. I could tell you how to enable it but you can’t, not at this time, since you cannot even log into the system. If your Mac does not sound the chime, just give it a couple of seconds after you press the power button, then immediately hold down Command-R.

Restarted and tried it several times with the Command key on both sides (not at same time) -R. also Command-Control-R from another online posting suggestion before this and still to no avail. Your summation about its keyboard being jinky is probably spot on. It crashed on ID when I connected another keyboard. The laptop hasn't been used in over 3 years and its screen hinges are broken. I don't need to reinstall an OS, just get in to wipe the drive.

Could I just physically remove the drive and magnetically wipe it? BTW THX SO MUCH for all your kind help. Cheers!
 
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Appreciation is welcome. I do enjoy doing this… a lot!

Sounds like the hardware is shot, and even more concerning that an external keyboard did not work either.

It would help if I had the model identifier of the MacBook. It would be in the format of, e.g., “MacBook7,1,” but if you don’t have that information, at least the year and size so I can make a guess on the hardware configuration. I have taken apart a number of Mac laptops before, and some of them were a nightmare to open. I doubt if a magnetic wipe will maintain the usability of the drive.

If you have a second Mac and can attach the two with a USB cable, you could attempt a Target Disk Mode on the old MacBook. The newer Mac might be able to see it as an external drive, and hopefully run Disk Utility to erase it. TDM is simpler because you just have to hold down the “T” key—no key combinations. On the subject of startup modes, we should have tried Hardware Test. Start up holding down the “D” key.

Should none of this work out, try to see this as a learning experience. Good luck!
 
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TonyAguila - using Command-R on start-up can the user also change the Admin Password ?. Or how can this be done, without reinstalling a new OS. Keeping existing data and files. Thanks for your previous info.
 
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I can’t think of a way to change the admin password in Recovery because you have to be in System Preferences -> Users & Groups to do that. However, if its a matter of forgetting your admin password in the existing system, in the usual login screen, if you type in the wrong password several times, you will get a prompt towards the bottom to the effect that you can use your Apple ID to log in, meaning your Apple account ID (e-mail and Apple ID password, not your Mac password).

I recall seeing this in the newer versions of macOS, but I’m not sure if the same will happen with the pre-Mojave versions. It has been too long since I ran one of those systems that I don’t remember if the feature was available then.

If the difficulty is because the startup does not complete successfully (i.e., hangs before you can log in), you might want to try Safe Mode. On startup, as soon as you see the Apple logo come up, hold down the Shift key until you get to the login screen. A safe boot will take longer—usually much longer—than a regular boot, so give it more time than usual. You would think that it would take less time because extensions and startup items don’t load in Safe Mode, but a great deal of software and hardware tests take place in the background during the process.
 
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Thanks Once again. Reason I asked is because I’m in the process of buying a Mac Pro 2013
From a secondhand dealer, reason for sale is because they can’t get past the Admin password.
 

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