Locked MacBook?

  • Posted: 16 April 2012 02:52 PM

    Okay, here is a weird one.  I got a MacBook off eBay to fix up for my daughter. Advertised “won’t start up”.

    I do some basics fixes and try to start up.  It powers up fine, and shows blinking “?”.  So far, so good.  I have several working hard drives with known working systems installed. I put in one, and still get the blinking “?”.  Hmmm, not recognizing any hd.  Insert startup DVD.  Still blinking “?”.  restart holding down “C”.  Still blinking “?”.  Put in AHT disk, start up holding the “D” key.  STILL blinking “?”.

    So, I decide to try starting up from an external.  I start up holding down the option key - and got something I’ve never seen before, or even heard of.  The display comes up with a padlock icon and a prompt for a password.


    Is it possible to lock down a MacBook to the point it will only recognize a certain startup disk? (which, of course, did not come with the MacBook….)

    And, of course, is there a way around this?

    (BTW: net boot also does not work… just get the ever-present “?”.)


    “Everything in excess!  To really enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.  Moderation is for monks.” -Lazarus Long

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    Posted: 16 April 2012 06:22 PM #1

    Firmware password is enabled. Can you boot off of a Leopard install disk?

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    Posted: 16 April 2012 06:24 PM #2

    You can reset a firmware password by changing the RAM amount in the MacBook, then boot while resetting PRAM. Let the boot chime sound a minimum of 3 times, and the firmware password is reset (if there is one)

  • Posted: 17 April 2012 11:35 AM #3

    I had already tried replacing the memory under the “what if it’s a bad memory stick”, but I used the same amount, just different sticks.  However, adding a 1G stick instead of a 512, and PRAM would reset, and now all is good.  Thanks.

    This machine used to belong to a school district. I guess they lock their computers down even tighter than we do at my work.


    “Everything in excess!  To really enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.  Moderation is for monks.” -Lazarus Long

  • Posted: 17 April 2012 09:31 PM #4

    With Lion, if you don’t set a firmware password, an individual with physical access to your machine can boot to the recovery partition and change your password and lock you out of your system.