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04 June 2011

Need some help. My step-brother had a brain aneurysm burst on Thursday and has been unconscious in ICU since. This was a sudden, unexpected thing. He is only 41 and in good health. I would like to get in touch with some of his online friends and let them know what is going on.[More:]

I have his 2010 version Mac Book Pro but it is password protected. I would like to bypass the password for the purpose of letting online friends know what is going on with him.

This is in Manhattan -- I could go to the 24/7 Cube but I am assuming I will need a official letter from the hospital as well as documents establishing our relationship. I plan on calling later on this morning just can not do it now.

Was hoping someone has had some experience with an Apple Store and a similar situation - tips on how to proceed, any advice on what would make the process easier.

Thoughts on reaching out to online communities he is a member of also welcome.
So very sorry :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 05 June | 00:00
I'm very sorry you're going through this; you are in my thoughts.
posted by pjern 05 June | 00:10
I have no advice, but damn, I am so sorry and hope your step-brother pulls through. :(
posted by BoringPostcards 05 June | 00:13
Sorry to hear about that brother...

A couple of things - if he's using Filevault, you're out of luck, that account is locked unless there is a master password you guys know or he has secured somewhere.

If the machine *doesn't* use filevault you can boot from the install CD and change the password on the account, it's pretty trivial to recover it via this method. I am unsure if this will recover access to the keychain, which is where all the data for account logins/etc external to the device is likely stored.

There is one more outlier, if he's using an EFI password, that's another hurdle to cross, it's possibly to bypass the efi's protection, but it involves a few steps and you're better off just cracking the machine and mounting the disk on another mac at that point.

Other folks may have ideas, but if you can get an osx install disk and have the latop and he's just a regular old user type person it should be easy enough to get access to the accounts on the machine.

Sorry dude. Hope he gets better and the rest of you and yours are holding up.
posted by iamabot 05 June | 00:24
Thanks brother and bunnies. He has worked with Macs in the past in a professional capacity and is very knowledgeable about them so I am thinking he very well may have an EFI password.
posted by mlis 05 June | 00:44
I am so sorry to hear this. What has a Google search of his name thrown up? Sometimes even if his FB account is set to privacy, a Google search might show people who have him listed as a friend, and you could send them a message from your own FB account. Of course, this will only work if he has an unusual name.
posted by Senyar 05 June | 01:10
No EFI password trying to determine if he is using a filevault password.
posted by mlis 05 June | 01:17
iamabot has it. That's exactly the right answer.
posted by gc 05 June | 02:08
And yeah, having stood behind that bar, we're supposed to assume you're telling the truth, but also wouldn't touch a computer if we didn't have permission from the owner to do so. So doing this yourself is going to be the best way to do it.
posted by gc 05 June | 02:26
mlis, i am so sorry to hear about your stepbrother--I was hoping things had resolved already in a much better way. Hang in there, friend.

Do you know what his online communities are? And his screenname(s)? Cause if you do, you could always sign up on them and let his friends know that way.
posted by Stewriffic 05 June | 07:00
First of all yes, I hope everything ends up OK.

Second iamabot is right, if the files are encrypted you're out of luck but if they're not you don't even need the CD:

At step 4 you can reset the password to anything you like, or if you think there may be encryption you can save it and it may be possible to crack the actual password offline later.
posted by skorgu 05 June | 08:29
SO sorry, mlis, that is very scary and I'll be thinking of you.

I think Stewriffic's approach may help if you can't get into the computer. If you know what sites he frequented - even just a few of them - and can find a mod or other key person, that person will likely know who to inform and how, and perhaps even where some of his other online activities took place. I'm not sure you need his accounts so much as you need to find those key people who can relay the info.

Good luck. Let us know if we can do anything.
posted by Miko 05 June | 08:38
So sorry to hear this Mlis. No advice to offer. Sorry. Just warm thoughts and hoping you're able to make contact with his online friends. It's very thoughtful of you to care about this.
posted by marsha56 05 June | 09:54
I'm sorry, mlis.
posted by brujita 05 June | 11:22
You and your brother are in my thoughts.
posted by deborah 05 June | 11:22
Thank you everyone for the nice words and suggestions. A kind bunny is helping me resolve the Mac Book Pro issue.

I had started the FB approach last night but that is a good idea, thanks Seynar.

Stew & Miko, good suggestions I am going to attempt to contact the mods of 1 community I am aware of.
posted by mlis 05 June | 11:42
I do hope your step-brother gets well. Hugs.
posted by arse_hat 05 June | 12:49
You are in my thoughts mlis. I hope your stepbrother recovers quickly. All my best.
posted by Luminous Phenomena 05 June | 14:14
((mlis and step-brother))
posted by halonine 05 June | 14:53
posted by gomichild 05 June | 18:41
Any chance you're facebook friends? You could ask (some of?) his friends there to get word out, or if you're comfortable writing something on his wall you could just let it make its way from there, although this would almost certainly reach a much wider audience than you want.

Sorry to hear about this, and I hope he pulls through okay.
posted by dilettante 05 June | 19:35
i hope your step-brother gets better soon. hugs.
posted by Firas 05 June | 22:05
Thanks to everyone for the kind words and advice. Laptop issue solved thanks to skorgu.
posted by mlis 06 June | 00:15
So sorry, mlis.
posted by rainbaby 06 June | 11:33
mlis, I don't know how I missed this. I am so sorry to hear about your step-brother.
posted by LoriFLA 06 June | 21:36
mlis, I missed this, too. I'm glad that skorgu's advice solved the tech question. I'm sending good thoughts and wishes your way.
posted by Elsa 06 June | 22:23
Thanks, rainbaby, LoriFla and Elsa. He is being transferred out of ICU tomorrow and will probably be in the hosp for two more weeks before being moved to a rehab hospital. Much improved and we are hoping for a full recovery!
posted by mlis 16 June | 21:52
Much improved and we are hoping for a full recovery!

That's excellent news, mlis --- still sending good thoughts!
posted by Elsa 16 June | 22:10
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