Bob's Notepad

Notes on projects I have done and things I have learned saved for my reference and for the world to share

Monday, November 06, 2006

iBook - Open Firmware Password Reset

So the problem is you get an iBook used and you replace the hard drive which means there is now no OS on the computer. You want to boot the cd-rom but it doesnt boot.... why? Well, someone has set an Open Firmware password which means you are locked from ANY boot up options unless you have that password. Apparently, this can only be done on the correct phase of the moon and it must be raining and also it will not work on Sundays. Joking aside, here is what needs done:

You need to change the RAM. Either remove or add a stick, so the previous RAM amount is altered. Then ZAP the PRAM - hold down - command+option+P+R on reboot. Wait for at least 3 "chimes", then let go. In other words, it's not just a matter of changing the RAM, but changing it, then immediately zapping the PRAM.

After that, shut down the machine, reset the RAM to it's default slots, and try booting from the install CD (ie. hold down the "C" key on startup).

Hopefully that will let you get into the OS installer, and you can choose an "erase and install" to perform a fresh, clean install.
Reference Link


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its worked, Just the way explained.

change the ram, hold command+option+p+r , three chimes


11/9/08 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was new for me. Great solution... well, the only solution... but thanks for posting it!

23/9/08 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise ye, Bob. You are my saviour! Last week I thought my hard drive had died and taken all my work with it (naughty me, not big on the backing up). I was running out of avenues when I found your blog. Worked like a charm. Thank you! Thank you! Thanks. :-)

23/1/09 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob. I tried resetting the PRAM with no success, but changing the RAM configuration and THEN resetting the PRAM... Thats pure genius.

18/5/09 9:19 PM  
Blogger Blu411 said...

Bob you are amazing, my hero!!! I replaced my HD and then got the firmware password:-( You saved my my laptop!

26/6/09 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude! you Rule! thanks so much for the info!!! got an iBook for my niece on eBay. all it needed the seller said was an OS installed. well the school that had it left their OS on it with the firmware lock so i couldn't install anything. even Tech Tool Pro wouldn't run. searched on the forums with no luck till i ran across yer posting.had to zap the PRAM a few times but got there. am loading 10.3 on it now. would be happy to send some tunes yer way as a token of my appreciation. ever heard Sara Groves or Bill Monroe? hit me back at if ya like. thanks again and God bless. best, Paul

16/9/09 11:24 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have an Ibook G4 but tried to reset firmware pass but it didnt work. I remove one Ram and hold command+option+p+r but it still log in to MAC os. Anyone could help me? Thanks!

11/10/09 4:31 AM  
Blogger Bob K Mertz said...

Glad I was able to help everyone. Here it is years later and I just now realize that I never had my comments being delivered to my email so I'm just now reading everything :)

@bao Doing the command+option+p+r doesn't alter the booting but just resets the PRAM. This won't change anything related to the OS it's self and I suppose it's also theoretically possible that the OS changes the firmware password back.... just brainstorming.

10/11/09 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

since I follow
iBook G4 Hard Drive so I use your tips and work, thanks

10/7/10 3:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


28/4/12 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've ibook and i wanna reset itspassword
i turned it on and hold (command-s)to go to terminal but i couldnt.
could anyone help me?

30/10/12 5:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

bob i did everything the way you had explained i did it 3 times and id did not work any advice please help.

25/4/13 5:23 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Bless your heart! Thank you.

13/1/15 2:34 AM  
Anonymous KonaDave said...

Thank you SO MUCH!! this helped me out a lot!

25/9/15 9:01 PM  

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