How to reset a root password

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This page is outdated and needs to be verified against current releases of Fedora.

Setting up a root password is a mandatory part of a Fedora installation. If you forget or otherwise lose your root password, there are procedures to reset it.

Fedora uses targets to determine the services being run when you start your system. Run level 1 can be used as a rescue mode. Booting Linux under run level 1, which is also called single user mode, will display a root prompt on bootup, from which you can reset the root password.

Contents

Entering Rescue Mode

Using GRUB2

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GRUB2 has been the default boot loader since Fedora 16.

While booting the system the GRUB2 menu will be displayed, to boot the system using bash follow these steps:

  • Use the arrow keys to select the boot entry you want to edit
  • Press e to start editing that entry
  • Use the arrow keys to go to the line that starts with linux or linux16
    • If you have a UEFI system it's the line that starts with linuxefi
  • Go the the end of that line add a space then rw then another space and init=/bin/bash
  • Press Ctrl-x or F10 to boot that entry


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Encrypted partitions
Whichever GRUB version your system has, if you have an encrypted partition, you are prompted for the pass phrase before mounting the filesystems. If have more than one encrypted partition and they all share a global pass phrase, select the option for global pass phrase. Otherwise, enter the pass phrase separately for each partition.

Changing root password

As root, changing password does not ask for your old password. Run the command:

# passwd

Enter your new root password twice. Congratulations! You now have now reset your root password.

To make sure that selinux context of file which were now modified is restored properly after reboot, run:

# touch /.autorelabel

You can than reboot the machine with

# /sbin/reboot -f

Reset Password Using a Fedora CD/DVD

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Usage cases
This method should work to reset the root password if the boot loader is password protected. Or if you have a Fedora 19 (or newer) installation where booting to the rescue mode (which now invokes /sbin/sulogin) will ask you for the root password to proceed.


Using any of the Fedora Live Media

  • Boot the Live installation media
  • After it finishes booting and starts the live session, open a terminal and switch to root (using su, it won't ask for a password)
  • Create a directory where you can mount the filesystem of your installation:

mkdir /mnt/sysimage

  • Mount the filesystem of your installation (/dev/sda1 is just an example, be sure to fill in the actual device node of your installation root / partition):

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sysimage

  • chroot to your installation:

chroot /mnt/sysimage/

  • Change the root password:

passwd

  • Exit from the chroot:

exit

That's it, simply reboot your system and then boot the installation from the HDD as usual.

Reset Password When BIOS is Password Protected

If you cannot enter rescue mode because you forgot the BIOS password required to select an alternate boot device, you have three options:

  • Refer to your computer's documentation for instructions on resetting the BIOS password in CMOS memory, usually by moving a physical jumper.
  • Physically change the boot order.
  • Temporarily move the system hard disk to another machine, and follow the procedures above to reset the root password.