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View Full Version : The tragedy of password-protected old computers



Mr.Amiga500
October 19th, 2008, 06:17 AM
I recently got an SGI Indy, NeXTstation and G3 PowerMac (with OSX) and was disgusted to find that they're all password-protected ...and I don't have the passwords. (d'oh! Most old computers I collect have no security.)

Is there any way to bypass these logins? (without reinstalling the OS)

I know that if there was a way, it would defeat the whole point of password security - but I thought that older systems like Indy and NeXTstation (back when people weren't so freakish about security) would have some workaround.

Any ideas?

wmmullaney
October 19th, 2008, 07:08 AM
Well for osx, boot the computer off of the cd, then under utilities, click password change.

Sorry, I don't know about the other machines.

per
October 19th, 2008, 07:15 AM
On old PC's (actually up to recently), all you had to do was to pull the BIOS battery and boot off a floppy/CD to save the files you want to keep. Then reformat the harddrive and reinstall the OS.

Mr.Amiga500
October 19th, 2008, 07:33 AM
As I said, I can't reinstall the OS.

The Indy and NeXTstation only have harddrives (no floppy, no CD-ROM) and the G3 Mac came without OSX install disc.

JohnElliott
October 19th, 2008, 08:03 AM
This may help you with the NeXT: http://www.channelu.com/NeXT/Repair/lostroot.html

Once you've got it booted in single user mode, I suppose you should be able to use the passwd command to set the root password in the normal way.

VintageComputerman
October 19th, 2008, 08:04 AM
Here is a good article...

http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1032878.html

Link to BIOS tools...

http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

Here is a download to the whole CD...

http://www.kerodownload.com/s-fx_info-id-16749.html

Mr.Amiga500
October 19th, 2008, 10:38 AM
This may help you with the NeXT: http://www.channelu.com/NeXT/Repair/lostroot.html

Once you've got it booted in single user mode, I suppose you should be able to use the passwd command to set the root password in the normal way.

Excellent! Thanks John! I now have a perfectly useful NeXTstation! (...useful for what, I don't know...)

Mr.Amiga500
October 19th, 2008, 10:43 AM
Here is a good article...

http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1032878.html

Link to BIOS tools...

http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

Here is a download to the whole CD...

http://www.kerodownload.com/s-fx_info-id-16749.html


Thanks for the links, but I don't see how any of this would be useful for an SGI Indy, NeXTstation or G3. (The links are for Windows PC stuff and I don't have a PC.)

Trixter
October 19th, 2008, 12:33 PM
I recently got an SGI Indy, NeXTstation and G3 PowerMac (with OSX) and was disgusted to find that they're all password-protected ...and I don't have the passwords. (d'oh! Most old computers I collect have no security.)


All of those computers run unix-like operating systems. Get boot media for all of them, boot off of the boot media, mount the root drive, then go to /etc/passwd and remove the root password.

MikeS
October 19th, 2008, 01:41 PM
All of those computers run unix-like operating systems. Get boot media for all of them, boot off of the boot media, mount the root drive, then go to /etc/passwd and remove the root password.
----
I was going to suggest the same thing, but I think the problem is that there's no boot media...

pontus
October 19th, 2008, 02:33 PM
I would put the harddrive in a PC with linux. Hopefully you can then mount the partition where /etc is and change /etc/passwd manually.

At least I think that linux can handle the OSX file systems, not so sure about the Indy. You can probably put the Indy disk in almost any other SGI machine if you can find one.

Sharkonwheels
October 19th, 2008, 05:12 PM
Found elsewhere:

To reset a password on an SGI:

1. Insert cd for Irix 6.5 "Installation Tools".
2. Click "Stop for Maintenance" button.
3. Click "Install System Software" button.
4. Click "Local CDROM" button then "Install" button.
5. Click "Continue" button that pops up.
6. Choose "3" admin mode.
7. Choose "7" Shroot.
8. At the prompt type "passwd" and then your new root password.
9. Then just type "Exit" then "Return" then "Quit" pressing enter after each.
10. Answer "y" for yes when asked to reboot.


course, we're back to needing boot media.
Not only media, but a SCSI CDROM. No just any - one of those goofy-@ss ones supporting 2048 bytes/sector.
I have media, but nowhere near the speed on my dsl to be able to upload anything!
Browse around, as I have downloaded some - check to see if HotLine is still up and running, as I downloaded a TON of stuff from there, as well as from eMule/eD2K.

T

Mr.Amiga500
October 19th, 2008, 05:20 PM
----
I was going to suggest the same thing, but I think the problem is that there's no boot media...

Bingo! Give that man a... uh... a Bingo card.

That's right, no boot media. Even if I had the Irix install CD, I have no external SCSI CD-ROM drive (Indy has no internal drives besides harddrive). It would have been the same with the NeXTstation, but thankfully that has now been solved. The G3 PowerMac is relatively easy, but I'd need an OSX 10.2 disc. (10.2.8 is last OSX which supports the G3 Macs) Maybe I'll get one on eBay or something.

Sharkonwheels
October 19th, 2008, 05:43 PM
Easily solvable - get a Toshiba XM-3xxx external SCSI drive on fleaBay.
They show up by the tons. Those were OEM on Sun, SGI, IBM, etc...

T

Yzzerdd
October 19th, 2008, 05:55 PM
Bingo! Give that man a... uh... a Bingo card.

That's right, no boot media. Even if I had the Irix install CD, I have no external SCSI CD-ROM drive (Indy has no internal drives besides harddrive). It would have been the same with the NeXTstation, but thankfully that has now been solved. The G3 PowerMac is relatively easy, but I'd need an OSX 10.2 disc. (10.2.8 is last OSX which supports the G3 Macs) Maybe I'll get one on eBay or something.

Actually, my G3 366MHz ran 10.3.9, which is the latest OSX supporting the G3.

I recall reading an article online about removing a password in OSX...let me look for it now...

Got it! Try this--Link (http://www.hackszine.com/blog/archive/2007/07/howto_reset_a_lost_os_x_passwo.html)

--Jack

Mr.Amiga500
October 19th, 2008, 06:23 PM
I recall reading an article online about removing a password in OSX...let me look for it now...

Got it! Try this--Link (http://www.hackszine.com/blog/archive/2007/07/howto_reset_a_lost_os_x_passwo.html)

--Jack

That is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for! Thanks!

Unfortunately, it seems my G3 PowerMac is now dead. I tried turning it on to fix the password problem and it wouldn't turn on. What a bizarre coincidence. I tried multiple outlets, opened it and checked all connectors and cards, but it is completely dead. It was working fine yesterday. Weird. Maybe my Mac knew what I was trying to do and killed itself.

Yzzerdd
October 19th, 2008, 06:42 PM
Keep on working on that G3, the problem is probably simple. Try booting with nothing but power hooked up. Otherwise, use a different power cord. Also, check for any burnt items in the Mac. If all else fails, do not hesitate to drop-kick it while plugged in--that just might fix it.

--Jack

Sharkonwheels
October 19th, 2008, 07:16 PM
Do G3's have the reliance on batteries like earlier Macs do?
ie, dead/no battery = no power-on?


R

tenox
October 20th, 2008, 06:27 AM
All the Unix machines you can boot in single user mode and change the password. On O2 I remember you have to boot it to SASH (stand alone shell).

Merlin
October 20th, 2008, 08:40 AM
There is a Linux Boot CD that you can use to reset Windows XP Passwords, I have a copy here. Since Linux is not unlike Unix, could you boot from this CD to reset the passwords on the Unix machines?

shawn510
October 20th, 2008, 10:32 AM
All the Unix machines you can boot in single user mode and change the password. On O2 I remember you have to boot it to SASH (stand alone shell).

There should be a point in the IRIX boot process where you can click "stop for maintence". From there you can get to the SASH prompt. That is unless you are like me and have a Indigo that also has a PROM password.

Sharkonwheels
October 20th, 2008, 01:21 PM
Sash is on the CD, though.
I don't think Irix has that option, I believe because they were used in many govt installations. You can STILL find NASA dumping out SGI's through their surplus departments.


T

barythrin
October 20th, 2008, 03:23 PM
For several systems I've removed the drive, stuck it in another system and whether or not you can read the partition doesn't really matter (I had to do this with Irix and SunOS) but just get a drive editor, search for "root:" and replace the password hash with a password hash you DO know from another system. It'll be the same number of bytes so you'll be ok.

Naturally if you CAN read the filesystem, then yeah you can blank the password to just :: and it'll let you right in with that username.

Sharkonwheels
October 20th, 2008, 03:27 PM
Not too big a deal - if he CAN get the cdrom, I can figure out a way to get him the boot cd. Doesn't Irix use EFS or something strange?

T

Trixter
October 20th, 2008, 04:14 PM
----
I was going to suggest the same thing, but I think the problem is that there's no boot media...

Just because he doesn't possess boot media doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Ask the guys on the classiccmp list for boot media, I'm sure they can help.

Sharkonwheels
October 20th, 2008, 05:41 PM
Just because he doesn't possess boot media doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Ask the guys on the classiccmp list for boot media, I'm sure they can help.

That hopefully won't be a problem....

I have 6.5.8, 6.5.10, 6.5.18 (I think) and then like 6.5.20 or so.
Only thing that really changes, is the base CD's. I bought a 6.5.8 a few years ago, and when I install, I just the later OS disks, with the original add-on stuff.

Of course, i haven't done an Irix load in a few years, so i could be talking out the side of my head, too!

matter of fact, I remember find a link on setting up a network-load, and using an Indy with an 18GB drive just to hold all the media. It was a pain, but well-documented. Had to edit all the files allowing permission for the machine being loaded, and it's IP, etc...


T

Mr.Amiga500
October 20th, 2008, 06:05 PM
Just because he doesn't possess boot media doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Ask the guys on the classiccmp list for boot media, I'm sure they can help.

I didn't ask for the boot media. I'm not here to schmooze it out of people. I just wanted a technique to get in without the boot media (like that NeXT boot trick).

It is very nice for people to offer to give me boot media and I appreciate their generosity, but until I get an external SCSI CD-ROM, I can't really use it. (and if I did have the drive, I certainly wouldn't come on here with a sob story to try to manipulate people to give me a copy)

Thanks everybody for your suggestions. :)

Sharkonwheels
October 20th, 2008, 06:37 PM
I didn't ask for the boot media. I'm not here to schmooze it out of people. I just wanted a technique to get in without the boot media (like that NeXT boot trick).

It is very nice for people to offer to give me boot media and I appreciate their generosity, but until I get an external SCSI CD-ROM, I can't really use it. (and if I did have the drive, I certainly wouldn't come on here with a sob story to try to manipulate people to give me a copy)

Thanks everybody for your suggestions. :)

SGI never went after anyone, for example eBay sellers, because every machine came with an Irix license.

Now, beyond SGI machines, there is absolutely no use for Irix, as there is no proper WORKING emulator, even today.

That is BESIDE the fact that no NEW SGI Irix-based machines have been made in about what? 2 years? They dropped it, and "ain't makin' 'em no mo'"

That being said, when ya need media, just holler, and we'll try to figure out a way. From what I recall, maintenance mode didn't allow much - ya needed to boot up from the CD, even SASH.

Maybe things changed with later versions...

see here (http://software.majix.org/irix/admin-password.shtml) for more info...

link to booting: booting install CD (overlay) (http://software.majix.org/irix/install-bootcd.shtml)

Link to network install : network install (http://software.majix.org/irix/install-network.shtml)

Now, i gave ya the link to network booting, because if you have a linux box, you can copy the stuff off the cd, and network-boot the box from the OS copied to your linux box.

Ain't GOOD Unix'es (Unices? What's plural of Unix?) nice?

UPDATE: Here's a step-by-step, but what they all have in common, is requiring the boot media :( :
Step-by-step root password reset on SGI Irix (http://web.archive.org/web/20071011020933/http://www.hummingbirdcomp.com/removing_root_password_from_sgi_systems.htm)


T

Mr.Amiga500
October 20th, 2008, 08:37 PM
Thanks Sharkonwheels. :)

(...but I am having a hard time picturing a shark on wheels... ;))

Trixter
October 20th, 2008, 08:44 PM
I didn't ask for the boot media. I'm not here to schmooze it out of people. I just wanted a technique to get in without the boot media (like that NeXT boot trick).

It is very nice for people to offer to give me boot media and I appreciate their generosity, but until I get an external SCSI CD-ROM, I can't really use it. (and if I did have the drive, I certainly wouldn't come on here with a sob story to try to manipulate people to give me a copy)



It's not a "sob story", we're restoring old computers! I would feel terrible if I had the media and did NOT give it to you.

Most *nix systems don't have a "boot trick" where you can get in without the root password, so that's why I didn't mention it. NeXT is one of the few (old old versions of HPUX are another).

I would try taking the drives out, if they're regular IDE or SCSI, and trying to mount them in Linux. Get a linux distribution with kernel sources and compile *IN* every single filesystem supported. Then you have a good chance of mounting them (hell, if Coherent Unix is still mountable then I'm sure Irix and others are :-)

Mr.Amiga500
October 20th, 2008, 09:28 PM
It's not a "sob story", we're restoring old computers! I would feel terrible if I had the media and did NOT give it to you.

Oh, sorry Trixter. I misunderstood. I thought you were starting a "piracy is bad and people who promote it should die"-type comment. My reaction is the result of too many years defending myself on other old computer forums where the "piracy police" jump on you any chance they get... like vultures looking for a fresh kill.

(Just for the record - in case any "piracy police" are reading - I have never copied any program or OS that was currently for sale anywhere - or that I did not originally own at one time.)

Sharkonwheels
October 20th, 2008, 10:53 PM
Like Trixter says...if ya got a Linux box, you can mount the drive.
It'll be either EFS or XFS, I think those are the only two they used, and I believe 6.5.x
was XFS by default - EFS was the older one (or mebbe I'm backwards?)

And yeah, it ain't like Linux, where you can put "init=/bin/bash" on the kernel boot command line, and get into single-user mode, without security.

I always liked Irix, and have for YEARS had at least 2-3 SGI's in the house...
Right now it's rather thin, as I eBay'd my 3 Octanes, 2 O2's (1 was an RM5200 1GB/18GB/1600SW LCD), sold the Indigo R4000 to someone on here, the Indigo2's (3 of 'em) were eBay'd, and what's left is 4-5 Indy's, one a factory R5000, one a factory R5000 WebForce Indy, and a Challenge L (headless Indy). Got some spares, like the Phobos 10/100 ethernet for Indy/Indigo, IndyVideo+CosmoCompress boardset...

I wouldn't mind getting a couple again, but only the bad@ss ones: Onyx2 with some sort of *Reality graphics, or mebbe
put 2 Origin2000's in a half-rack.

T

NeXT
October 22nd, 2008, 08:06 PM
Don't know your Irix login password, eh? Been there before. :)
Well if memory serves, the 6.5.22m overlay contains a bootable miniroot.
Just download it (you will probably need a free Supportfolio account), boot from it and go reset the passwords.

OR you mount the drive on another system that supports the XFS filesystem (linux works...or another SGI) and go reset the passwords from there.

Trixter
October 22nd, 2008, 09:08 PM
Oh, sorry Trixter. I misunderstood. I thought you were starting a "piracy is bad and people who promote it should die"-type comment.


As someone who helped start the Abandonware movement over a decade ago, I don't think you'll ever hear me talk like that :)



(Just for the record - in case any "piracy police" are reading - I have never copied any program or OS that was currently for sale anywhere - or that I did not originally own at one time.)

I have! But only in the interest of software archival/history/appreciation, and never to make money.