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Can’t login after OS X Lion install/upgrade : SOLVED

Solution for Mac OS X Lion Login Error (Users disappear after upgrade to Lion)

After installing the latest upgrade for Mac OS X, the Lion, I couldn’t  login to my user account on my Macbook Pro! There was no way to log into my user. I tried to login with “root” and the root account was not available.

Basically,  all users disappear after install of Mac OS X Lion or upgrade to Lion (10.7), and you can’t login to your system.

After a little research, here is what worked for me:

Before giving you the solution, you should know that the first thing to do, is to call Apple’s customer service, and I take no responsibility for what ever might happen if you follow these instructions. They worked for my case, use at your own risk. 



Solution for Mac OS X Lion Login Error (Users disappear after upgrade to Lion):

  • Step 0 : Don’t panic, your files are not gone !

  • Step 1: Reset ROOT Password for Mac OS X Lion:

      1. Restart your Mac,
      2. Hold “Command+R” buttons just the moment your Mac starts up,
      3. Hold still…
      4. A window should appear, it says “Utilities…”
      5. From the tools menu, at the top, open “Terminal”
      6. Type “resetpassword” and hit enter
      7. A new window opens, select the System Administrator account (root) option
      8. Set a new password, easy to remember for you,
      9. Confirm and close all the windows,
      10. A question will appear as would you like to restart?
      11. Restart!
  • Step 2: Login as ROOT on Mac OS X Lion:

      1. Let the Mac startup,
      2. At login screen, type the user  name as “root” and put in the password you’ve chosen in step 1.8 above.
      3. Wait a while…
      4. You should be logged in with the “root” account to your Mac OS X Lion.
  • Step 3: Re-create your user (Reincarnation!)

      1. Right click on the “Finder” icon in the dock, select “Go to folder…”
      2. Type “/” and click on “GO” to go to your Mac’s hard drive,
      3. Navigate to the “Users” directory, you should see your own user folder, remember the folder’s name!
      4. Click the Apple logo on the left top side of the screen, select “System Preferences…”
      5. Go to “Users and Groups”
      6. Your user should not exist in the left side list, so click the small “+” button below the users list to add a new one.
      7. Set your Full name as it was previously (not very important though)
      9. Set an easy to remember password for your account,
      10. And hit “Create User”
      11. Confirm on “using the Existing folder for Home…”
      12. Wait….until you see your user appear on the users list…
  • Step 4: Back on the Road:

      1. Restart your Mac
      2. Login to your own account easily and get all your data back!
  • Step 5: Send me a coffee from the Donations Page.

16 replies on “Can’t login after OS X Lion install/upgrade : SOLVED”

Thanks, freeked out when trying to lon in for over an hour with different user names. After resetting the administrator account, i followed your instructions and was back up and running.

We couldn’t log in after transferring Snow Leopard time machine backup to a brand new 2011 13″ MacBook Pro. We just changed the user password as described above. After that we could log in straight away!
You should add Step 6: Be scared again: This essentially means all passwords are useless in the first place, doesn’t it?

Hi there :)
I’ve exactly followed ur steps but at step 3.6. I could actually see my account in the list left. So I’m not able to create the same account again as it says it already exists and doesnt let me proceed. What can I do? Thank u so much for ur help!! I’m so sad I can’t log in!! :((

@Dajana: Hi :)
It seems to me that you have an issue with your password. So just reset the password as described in STEP 1 and check if it works.

Followed your instructions in every detail, however I am still unable to log in as ‘root’. The login window shows all the user accounts and when I select any one of them nothing happens. When trying to log in using the login window, inputting ‘root’ and the new password, the window shakes and does not allow me to log in. The password is veeeeery easy so no way that is wrong.
Please please help me!
Thank you for any tips.
Best regards from Germany!

Did not work for me. I still have no user or any way to login after upgrading. I tryed reseting and creating new users but it didn’t matter. In safe mode I can login but then it’s no fun cause the sound a so much else is of.
I don’t know what happens, it’s tye same everytime I try. I’ve even erased tye HD and did a clean install and then backed up from Time Machine but the it wants to upgrade and when it reboots again all my users are gone and there is no way for me to get in.
Thanks anyway,

You saved you my relationship. I applaud you. My gf would have killed me if I had deleted her stuff for installing lion

Didn’t work for me. When I do a “resetpassword” I get a window, but it’s all blank and greyed out. No option to choose any accounts or press any boutton (other than the red x to close the window). Now what?

i am having this problem and hope your solution gonna work with me, but i am using mac on vmware (windows 7) so how to find the “command” button on my keyboard?

You saved my rear-end!
I had done a (what I thought was a minor) OS update, but afterwards, I couldn’t log in to my admin account. I followed your steps and got back into my machine. Many thanks.
BTW, I tried to make a donation, but you link goes to a french language paypal page and I couldn’t figure out how to change it to english. I tried just guessing my way through from memory, but it didn’t work.

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