Today I ran across a unique situation that made me actually have to think outside the box on. Luckily for me, I tend to not believe everything that the "Genius" at the Apple Store tell me. In the interest of making this a truly "Quick Tip," a brief scene setting will be given.
There I was, an IT Tech at the hell we call "The Apple Store." It was just me against, well everyone in San Diego it seems these days at that store. I made my way to the Semi-Genius and gave her my name and appointment time. She found me and had me sit down. After about ten minutes of hearing every issue an IT Tech comes across daily and usually concludes with a sigh and a "did you try restarting your computer Sir/Mam?" I was called upon with the shining ray of sunlight named Clarissa. Clarissa was actually a real "Apple Genius" as I would find out later. I explained to Clarissa that my clients mac was experiencing erratic pointer and application ghosting on the screen. My first thought was a bad track pad and I knew that the Macbook was still under the God Care, oops I mean the "Apple Care." She asked me to log into the Macbook and I quickly realized that I didn't get my clients password. I tried every password I had ever given them and nothing worked. Oh wait, I have an admin account on all the machines. I'll just log in from that account, change her password, and log back in right? Wrong. Apparently Apple made a change that does not allow one administrator to change another administrators password from the System Preferences>Users and Groups menu. I knew I had to get into that profile because everything on Apple computers are profile specific for customization reasons. The "Genius" said that I can only change the password with the setup disk that came with the Macbook, through the Users Apple ID account, or by formatting the entire machine and wiping everything not backed up. None of these were options so I went into NERD mode and fixed it. Here was my logic, action, and result.
Apple computers, unlike Windows, are based on a Linux/Unix kernel. If you open up Terminal on your Macbook, it's almost exactly like a Linux server. If you aren't familiar with Linux, Linux is what most websites run on. It's a primarily command line operating system that is very powerful, fast, efficient, and nerdy. If you run web servers, chances are you know more about Linux then you think. Back to my fix. Because Apple is on Linux, I knew the users had to be in either /Home, /Users, or /Usr. I tried navigating to each and found that it was /Users. Once I was in /Users, I found the username of my client. For security purposes, we'll call her Mary Jane. Mary Janes user profile was in the directory /Users/maryjane. Because I was an admin on the Macbook, I simply ran the Linux command to change the password for maryjane, restarted the computer, and logged in successfully to Mary Janes's profile. So, in closing, if you forget your Macbook Admin password, but you have access to another user on the computer, run the following commands in Terminal to reset the password.
//copy down username i.e. maryjane
sudo passwd maryjane
//type in a new password at the prompt
//type in the password again to confirm
As I said in the beginning, the Apple "Genius" I was assigned to actually knew that method. She said that they are not allowed to run commands from terminal on customer computers just in case something happens from a bad command. It does make sense to have that rule considering the tech level of most of these "Genius's" is fair to moderate at best and running commands at the terminal prompt can be much more powerful.