Q I have lost my default keychain, which disappeared from Keychain Access. Where can I find it?
A Chances are that your regular ‘login’ keychain is still there, just hiding.
One quick check is to look in ~/Library/Keychains, which is where it should be. Unless you have changed your setup from the default, your regular keychain should be named login.keychain. To open that up again in Keychain Access, use the Add Keychain… command in the File menu.
If it has gone from there, look at a recent backup, such as that kept by Time Machine, and you can copy the file back into that Keychains folder.
If it is not working correctly, back it up first, then select login in the upper left hand pane, and in the Keychain Access menu use the Keychain First Aid command to repair it.
If that fails you can create a fresh keychain in the correct folder, and copy and paste items from old keychains to it. To set it as the default, quit Keychain Access, rename the new keychain login.keychain, log out, and back in again.
Comments Always keep paper records of important passwords in case you need to recreate your keychain like this.
Further details of keychains are in this article.
Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 21, 2012.