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OS X Mountain Lion: "The system was unable to unlock your login keychain" alert after logging in

After entering your username and password at the login window in Mountain Lion, you may see this alert:

"The system was unable to unlock your login keychain"
(With three buttons: "Continue login", "Create New Keychain", "Update Keychain Password".)
 

This may happen if you changed your login keychain password or user password (so they are now different passwords), while started from the recovery partition.

  • Click "Continue log in" to leave the login keychain and the user password as is (that is, as different passwords). You will continue to see the alert each time you log in.
     
  • Click "Create New Keychain" to create a new login keychain with the same password as the user account. You should select this option if you do not know the original user password. You should no longer see this alert when logging in after selecting this option. 
     
  • Click "Update Keychain Password" if you want to be prompted to enter the original keychain password (usually your previous user password). After entering that keychain password, your login keychain password will be changed to match your user password. You should no longer see this alert when logging in after selecting this option.
Last Modified: May 6, 2013
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  • Last Modified: May 6, 2013
  • Article: HT3799
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