I let Software Update do its thing, but now when I restart all I see is gibberish about not finding some master.passwd file.

I let Software Update do its thing, but now when I restart all I see is gibberish about not finding some master.passwd file.

Don't panic! This isn't as bad as it might look. You need to restart your Mac from a Mac OS X Install disc - find it and load it into your Mac's optical drive. Now type reboot and press Return, holding down the C key until the Mac boots up. When the Mac OS Installer appears, click through the first screen or two until you see the menubar at the top of the screen. Select Utilities > Reset Password and follow the directions to change your user password, and then restart the Mac.

 

The real curiosity here is why your system is looking for master.passwd in the first place. Mac OS X generally gets such information from NetInfo via the Unix lookupd tool. Have you been hacking your lookupd configuration again?

 

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avatar

Sheila

Thank you! My iMac has been dead since Nov 2007 and you gave me the information I needed to finally find a way forward, with the Install Disk. I am very grateful. This link also helped, from another forum: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106908

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zo

I seem to have the same problem but unfortunately have no back up.Can you please help me.the lines on the screen says
/etc/master.passwd: Invalid argument
-sh; /etc/profile: Invalid argument
-sh-2.05b#

thanks

avatar

Daniel

I'm sure you've either solved this or reinstalled by now, but I ran into the exact same problem. At least, I had the same symptoms. Since I wasn't able to find a solution, I made one up.

To verify you have the same problem, once you get that error, type cd/ and then ls -l. There will be an entry for the /etc directory, which is actually a symbolic link. The the far right on that line, it should show /etc -> /private/etc. In my case, it showed something like /etc -> !!xxx!c1, which means that the symbolic link is corrupted. You can think of a symbolic link as a low-lever alias. Basically, when your system boots it inst able to find the /etc directory, which contains a lot of system configuration.

The easiest solution is to boot off an installation CD, and then open a terminal session. You can't just do it when you get the error, since the system is as that point in read-only mode. I have a bad memory for what the menu is exactly, but you can access it through the menu bar. In the terminal window, do the following commands, substituting your boot drive name for DRIVE_NAME:
1) cd /Volumes/DRIVE_NAME
2) rm /etc
3) ln -fs /Volumes/DRIVE_NAME/private/etc /Volumes/DRIVE_NAME/etc

That symbolic link is now correct, so the system can find the configuration files it is looking for. Actually, I don't think you need the f switch, just the s. That should solve the problem. After you do this, it would probably be smart to run the disk utility and do a verify permissions and check disk.

Hopefully if someone else has the same problem, they will stumble upon this.

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dave

hi all, please help me. I have this come up after i restarted my computer. I was using the computer just fine then when i went to open up a program, it showed funny square boxes in the toolbar ( i have mac g4 with latest osx update.) when i went to manually open the program (photoshop) Where open etc are that you can click on.
nothing opened so i restarted the that message came up in the verbose mode. I know nothing or very little about the "dos" side of the mac. I tried rebooting with the op disc and it would not find the optical/dvd drive. is it ever somthing other than the c button when you reboot. So to sum it up, now when i restart/reboot the computer it gets the apple logo for a few seconds then goes to the modeo of etc/master.password:invalid argument then -sh: /etc/profile: invalid argument

please help me as i cannot do anything and the computer will not look at my osx disc in the drive. I have read other blogs but nothing addresses this issue. gratefully dave.

avatar

fjo

This appears to be a common problem after using Software Update to install the latest Secruity Update. Using the Mac OS X Install Disk to reset my password did not correct the problem. I even reset the root password. This also did not correct the problem. Fortunately I had cloned a bootable firewire drive. I booted from the firewire drive and reapplied the Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update to my internal drive. This corrected the problem and my G4 PowerBook rebooted normally.

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