UPDATE: it has nothing to do with a crash. It is an outright Apple bug, something related to the bane of all Mac users, the Apple T2 security chip.
I have been locked out several times now, including after a clean shutdown, for example, rebooting in the morning, the Mac Pro rejected my login password.
In macOS Big Sur Locks Me Out of my 2019 Mac Pro after Kernel Panic, Repudiating my Login Password, I described how a crash in macOS Big Sur can destroy your login password and lock you out of your Mac.
This has now happened again, but with macOS Monterey. MacOS Monturdey. A turd. Every day.
These Apple Core Rot geniuses are still destroying user accounts with their bugs and that horrible T2 security chip. God I hate that thing, and would pay extra to rip the nasty little POS out of my Mac.
My working theory is that under some conditions, the login password for the Mac gets corrupted (since the same password still unlocks the boot drive). I don’t know how you can write code that sloppily that messes up something so critical, but Apple has managed to do it and keep that bug alive over at least two OS versions.
Consider the insolence of Apple making it difficult both to even create a bootable external drive and then tough to boot off one, if you succeed in creating one. You have to be an expert even to understand the process! Before, you could just clone your boot drive and you were 'good'. Apple calls this progress to make using your Mac complex and difficult when something goes wrong. And it goes wrong because of their incompetence in implementing and testing it.
Fixing it (in progress)
This time the failure was a little different. I had rebooted the Mac Pro and upon bootup no login was possible—password rejected every time (not caps lock just password whacked). Nor was there any Recovery option possible, because clicking that little land-mine icon (shown at right) invariably locked up the machine solid—I tried several times, rebooting each time—clicking it instantly locked up each time.
First destroy the user login account, then add a bug to hard crash when the user tries to recover... you can’t make this sh*t up. Nice work Apple! Maybe hire a test engineer or two someday?
The only solution was to boot into Recovery mode, then choose the most palatable option of four waste-you-whole-f*cking-day options. I chose to reinstall macOS Monterey, though it’s not clear at the time of choosing just what the end result will be (data loss or no data loss?).
Remember, the weird thing here is that the login password which macOS repudiates still works to unlock the boot drive. Presumably that means the drive is encrypted to that password, but the login account’s version of that password is toast (corrupted).
So I’m reinstalling macOS Monturdey (it take hours), while praying that reinstall does not wipe out my user account and data.
UPDATE: the reinstall fixed the issue. It took a few hours but at least it was not a start from scratch.
I’m writing this on my trusty 2019 iMac 5K with macOS Mojave, which has seen 3 years of hard use at home and in my Sprinter van, and has never not once had problems like this. But it lacks that destabilizing silicon scourge, the bane of all new Macs, the vaunted T2 chip which really seems to be the “terminator” chip for login.