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Archived - Mac OS X: How to remove and recreate an inaccessible keychain

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

You may delete and recreate a keychain file if the keychain is inaccessible (locked with a lost or unavailable password).

Notes
    1. After removing the old keychain and creating a new one, you will need to re-enter stored passwords again.

    2. If you use more than one keychain and wish to set the new keychain as default, select it in the list and choose Keychains > Make Default (Mac OS X 10.1) or File > Make Default (Mac OS X 10.2) in Keychain Access.

Mac OS X 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 or later instructions

    1. Log in as the affected user.
    2. Open Keychain Access (/Applications/Utilities).
    3. If the Keychain Files list is not available, click Keychains (Mac OS X 10.3.9 or earlier, upper right corner) or Show Keychains (Mac OS X 10.4 or later, bottom left corner).





    4. Select the inaccessible keychain that you wish to remove from the Keychain Files list.
    5. Choose Delete "<keychain_name>" from the File menu.
    6. When prompted, click Delete References & Files. This deletes the actual keychain file, instead of just the passwords stored in the keychain file.
    7. Choose File > New > New Keychain. When prompted, enter a unique name and password for the new keychain.
    8. Select the new keychain that appears in the Keychain Files list.
    9. Choose File > Make "<new_keychain_name>" Default. The name of the new keychain is now bold in the Keychains Files list.

You may now use the new keychain to store passwords.

Mac OS X 10.1 Instructions
    1. Log in as the affected user.
    2. Open Keychain Access (/Applications/Utilities).
    3. Choose Edit > Keychain List.
    4. Select the inaccessible keychain file in the Keychain List window.
    5. Click Remove.
    6. When prompted, click Delete. The keychain file is removed from the list.
    7. Click New.
    8. Type a name for the keychain. You may wish to use the same name as the keychain file you just deleted.
    9. Type and verify the keychain's new password.
    10. Click OK.
You may now use the new keychain to store passwords.

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Last Modified: Feb 17, 2012
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