If you look under System Preferences->Security, you'll see "FileVault", which lets you encrypt your home folder. That seems very dangerous to me, so I never paid much attention to it. But part of this also offers to set a "Master Password", which is explained as:
This is a "safety net" password. It lets you unlock any FileVault account on your computer.
Well, if you have no FileVault in use, it looks like there is no point to a Master Password, right? No, not quite.
At https://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.5/en/8737.html, you'll find this in a sidebar:
Forgot Password Conveniently reset the password for any user directly from the login window if you have set a master password for the system.
And indeed that's true. If you type an incorrect password several times, a login window pops up asking you for the master password. Use the master, and the next thing you get is the opportunity to set a new password for the account. It warns that a new keychain will be created, but that you can recover the old if you need to.
Handy feature, worth turning on.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-07-07 Tony Lawrence
Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better. ((Edsger W. Dijkstra)