My Dad has had a Mac Mini which has been useless for about a year now because I simply cannot find the answer to this dilemma. Quite a while back he went to start the Mini, where it was set up to log into his desktop automatically, there was the Name/Password screen. We had no password set but it has been impossible to if he has no account to log into. Upon looking at the drive over a network, his user folder is still there but apparently his login info or keychain is messed up somehow.

My Question AND m My Anguish:

I called Apple and had the pleasure of having an absolutely non-helpful "Genius" tell me that since I had no Apple Care plan, they would not help. I brought it down to the basics by asking "Do you know the answer to this problem?" and he said "Yes" but unless I paid for a care plan, no help!

That is utterly unacceptable since Apple machines are ALL that I have ever purchased. But enough about the lack of tech support for loyal customers.

HOW do I make my Dad's user folder active again so he can log in and use his computer? The user login info is a no-go..the screen just does the "back-and-forth" shake as if the info is all wrong. Any takers who can help me here and won't hold the information hostage for a fee? My Dad just wants his computer back and I don't want him to go buy a Windows 7 laptop: although I DO understand the temptation.

Thanks All!

Just for your info, AppleCare would help if you paid for a support incident, which should still be $50, or thereabouts.
You can't purchase the AppleCare extended warranty, after the warranty has expired.

Very often, when the system suddenly brings up a login screen, when you normally have an automatic login, and it won't accept the password that you know is correct - then there's likely some corruption in some system files. A reinstall of OS X will take care of that, most likely.

But, first, you should try a reset of the admin password, which may help without needing to reinstall your system.

We need to know what version of OS X is installed on your dad's mini. OS X 10.7 (Lion) or newer will be a different procedure than OS X 10.6.8 or older, for example.
Also, tell us if you know that your dad has the original installer DVD for the mini. That's one of the differences with a system newer than 10.7 - you don't need the installer DVD to proceed with whatever is necessary.