How to Repair the Empty Keychain Passwords in Leopard

I did a clean install of Leopard on my Mac Pro and my PowerBook. On the Mac Pro I did erase and install, wanting to do a clean port-by-hand of all my data and clean installations of my apps. On the PowerBook I put in a bigger, faster HDD and so I had no choice but to do a clean install.

The outcome: No blue screens, but all my passwords were blank. Keychain Access deleted all of them (passwords only, not the login names) after I ported my old Library Prefrences. Additionally, Keychain refuses to remember them. They stay blank.

I have been entering the same passwords over and over every time I want to connect to my home wireless, check my email or news feeds. Even my ftp favorites in Transmit.

I discovered Jason was having the same problem, and his solution was pretty basic: delete the login keychain and start over. A good start, but I have way too many needed passwords to just start over.

I basically took Jason’s advice and added one more shortcut at the end. Here’s what I did:

  1. In my user’s ~Library/Keychains folder I dragged “login.keychain” onto the desktop. Removing it from the original folder, while keeping a backup just in case.
  2. Opened the Keychain Access app and created a new keychain (File > New Keychain) called “login”.
  3. Opened up my pre-Leopard backup, and went to ~Library/Keychains and copied “login.keychain”.
  4. Went back to Leopard’s ~Library/Keychains folder and pasted the “login.keychain” file from the pre-Leopard backup.

On my PowerBook all password were restored. Interestingly though, on my Mac Pro everything but Transmit’s ftp Favorites were restored. A simple “Export” from my PowerBook and “Import” on my Mac Pro solved that.

UPDATE: Obviously my workaround is a bit funny. Before you go deleting things, and if you’re getting a “Keychain “name” cannot be found to store “sampleitem”” message read this workaround from Apple. (Thanks Mike!)

How to Repair the Empty Keychain Passwords in Leopard