Manual keychain editing

Reader Brenda Rather, in a message entitled “I Have Shot Myself in the Foot,” writes:

I was searching through some Macintosh forums and saw someone’s advice to go to a so-and-so folder and throw away a file that held some of my passwords to workaround a problem. So I did and now each time I log in to Entourage, I have to re-enter passwords for all four of my accounts. How can I re-enter these passwords permanently so that I don’t have to do that anymore.

If you find that enabling the Add to Keychain option is doing you no good, you might first try repairing your keychain. To do so, launch Keychain Access (found at /Applications/Utilities), choose Keychain First Aid from the Keychain Access menu, enter your user name and administrator’s password in the window that appears, enable the Verify option, and then click the Start button. If any red entries appear indicating there’s a problem with some of your keychain items, enable the Repair option and click Start again.

If that doesn’t do the trick, you can manually add keychain items. You do that by choosing File -> New Password Item. In the sheet that appears you’ll see three blank fields. In the first one enter the IMAP, POP, or SMTP address for your first account. So, for example, if you’re constantly prompted for a password for your receiving (POP) email account, you’d enter something like: pop://pop.example.com or imap://imap.gmail.com.

In the next field you enter the account name you use with your email client—brather@example.com, for instance. Finally, in the last field enter the password for this account. Click Add and the item is added to your keychain. Repeat for your other accounts.

With luck, Entourage will stop the nagging.

If even that won’t work, you can always start over. If you do you’ll have to enter all your passwords again—not only for your email accounts but all other passwords including those for websites that were once stored in your keychain. (Are you getting the idea that this is a court-of-last-resort solution and best avoided if possible?) The way to start over is to open Keychain Access’ Preferences and click the Reset My Keychain button. This creates a new, empty keychain.

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