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Set the Master Password

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 http://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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On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"...I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. (Charles Babbage)

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