Mac Daniel's Advice

Disabling At Ease

Manuel Mejia Jr - 2001.03.19

Q: I just got a Mac that has "At Ease" installed. At Ease prevents me from reprogramming the hard drive, and I do not have the access code to shut down this program. How do I deal with this problem?

A: "At Ease" was a piece of software that was designed for Macs that were in a school environment. It prevents individuals (such as curious children) from carrying out tasks such as deleting applications without a password. While it is good for school networks, it is a hindrance to the individual Mac user.

The best way to deal with the removal of At Ease without using the password is to reinstall the Mac OS. Using the OS installation disks or CD, the Mac user can overwrite the At Ease "corrupted" OS without affecting any applications or files that are on the hard drive. Just install a clean copy of the OS; there is no need to reformat the drive.

There is one other method one could be tried for the removal of At Ease. One could try to use Norton Utilities to remove At Ease, but this technique is not recommended. At Ease is integrated into the Mac OS - if it is removed, the OS is likely to become nonfunctional.

UPDATE: Bruce Hossfield wrote in with an even simpler method: Boot the computer with extensions off (hold down the Shift key during startup), trash the At Ease Stuff, and restart the computer. Others report this is not possible if an Administrator password has been set, although you may be able to disable At Ease by booting from another drive.

Manuel Mejia Jr is familiar with Mac IIs, LCs, and older PowerBooks. He uses his Mac LC, PowerBook 145B, and PB 100 with System 7.1 on a regular basis and recently added a Mac Plus running System 6 to his collection. He's quite familiar with both System 6 and System 7. He also owns the Pina books on repairing compact Macs from 128k through the SE. You can read more about Manuel's computers in Manuel Mejia Jr's Four Old Macs.

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