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recover my root password

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#1 jarves



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Posted 26 August 2004 - 07:18 AM

is there any way to recover my root password in case i get lock out, ot forgot the root password???

#2 blackpage



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Posted 26 August 2004 - 09:38 AM

gidday jarves

You basically have to gain access to your machine somehow to alter the respective files. A pretty convenient way is to use the bootable installation CDs of some Linux distro and launch some "recovery console". If you can't see some comand like that you might try the ALT+F1..Fx keystroke to maybe get a clear console.

Once you have managed to get into a shell you need to mount the partition that holds your /etc directory. To reset the root password open the file /etc/passwd and look for a line starting with ...


Delete the "x" in this line as it tells that the password is shadowed. Save the file.

Secondly open /etc/shadow and search for the entry for the user "root". This one usually looks like this ...

root:$s0m3fR1g9InMD5h45H:<numbers>:<more numbers>::::

Delete all values (the stuff between the columns) so that you get a line like this ...


Save the file, unmount the partitions and reboot. The root-account should not have set a password now, which you should change immediately again.

hope that helps

#3 Dapper Dan

Dapper Dan


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Posted 26 August 2004 - 03:51 PM

Excellent instructions blackpage! I had to do this on my brother in law's laptop just a few weeks ago. What you wrote here is exactly what I did to the letter! smile

#4 blackpage



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Posted 26 August 2004 - 05:53 PM

Thanx DapperDan for the kind words. To be honest: A couple of months ago I did a lot of test-installs and with most of them I fooled around with the accounts as I never planned to use the setup "for real"; til one day when I had to do some tricky postgres-stored-procedure fun on a production machine. I knew I had already done that on one of the test machines, alas, I didn't recall the root-password smile

So a little search on the net made me dig up the above procedure. Quite slick and precise. My thanx therefore goes out to the unknown author of this, from whom I shamelessly leeched the knowledge smile

#5 martouf



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Posted 27 August 2004 - 12:59 AM

TIMTOWTDI - there is more than one way to do it

here's another way for when you know the system is still OK but you didn't arrive
with boot/rescue disc in hand:

1. boot with parameter "init=/bin/bash"

2. the disks will be mounted read-only (ready for fsck), so remount the ones
you need to write to as read-write.
( for me, it's: "mount -o remount,rw /dev/sda2 /" )

3. change any account pwd you want: "passwd root" or "passwd user12"

4. "sync" ( for purists, it's: "sync;sync;sync" )


done! 8)

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