Is it possible to back up files on a Mac without logging in?

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Is it possible to back up files on a MacBook without logging in? I have an issue where I can t login so my only option is to restore.

Other answer:

mj d:
"Is it possible to back up files on a Mac without logging in?…. MacBook without logging in? I have an issue where I can t login so my only option is to restore."

Hello, mj d.

Login issue usually means forgotten password. That issue alone *never* indicates a need to *restore*. For any Mac running OS X version 10.7 or later….

– Restart while holding command and R keys for 45 seconds.
– Click on the “Utilities” menu and select “Terminal”.
– Type:
resetpassword
– Press Return.
– Select the "Macintosh HD" or whatever is the startup drive.
– Select the account.
– Enter a new password.
– Re-enter.
– Save.
– Quit, and restart.

If it is more than simply forgotten password, this question should be asked *after* you got my help with trying to solve the real issue. I wondered if you had already asked a question about the real issue, so I looked at your questions history. Not only did you not ask about this issue yet, but also you asked where to find a factory to build your "idea". The trouble with that is you don't say what type of factory (clothing, handbags, watches, car parts). Including a lot of details makes your question better and gets you better answers, such as "Why does login password fail for my MacBook 2015 gold running OS X 10.12?"

With that intro, let me give you the answer to this "MacBook" question….

"Is it possible to back up files on a Mac without logging in?"

Almost any MacBook has the option to start up to Target Disk Mode if you hold the T key for 45 seconds during startup. Exceptions are the Late 2008, Late 2009, and Mid 2010 MacBooks, Apple's worst mistakes with MacBook designs. I say *option*, because if the drive has severe corruption or is encrypted, it won't mount in Target Disk Mode.

If the Mac starts to Target Disk Mode, connect it to another recent Mac using either a Firewire cable or a Thunderbolt cable or a combination of cable and adapter. Then the startup disk of the MacBook will mount and appear in the Finder window of the other Mac…. unless the drive has severe corruption or is encrypted.

ANOTHER OPTION for any older MacBook that has an old-school SATA hard drive is to open the case, remove the drive, mount it in an enclosure, connect it to a Windows computer, install HFSExplorer in Windows, and recover files from the Mac drive.

<0-0>

Ianab:
Yes, just not easily

I don't work on MACs, but there are 2 strategies you can use.

Remove the disk and connect it to another machine, either with a USB adaptor or plugged into a PC internally. Then you can try and recover the files before you nuke it.

Or, you can probably boot to a Linux Live CD. This lets you log into a full operating system with network and USB drive support so you can read the disk and copy your files off.

Robert J:
Try holding both the shift and up-arrow keys as soon as you power on, until you get an onscreen message – that should boot in to "safe mode" which may bypass the login screen, or at least reduce the chances or problems

Also try Command-S (alt-S), which boots to "single user" mode which again may bypass login or work differently.

See below:
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201255

Other than those, booting from an external drive or removing the existing hard drive and reinstalling to a new one are your best options.

Duncan:
No.

Why can you not log in?

What do you mean by restore?

How are you planning to restore (whatever that means)?

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