How to reset a root password

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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 run levels to determine the services being run when you start your system. Run level 1 can be used as a recovery 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 Recovery Mode

While you system is starting up, hold down the Ctrl key or Esc to see the boot loader menu. After you see the menu:

  • Use the arrows to select the boot entry you want to modify.
  • Press e to edit the entry.
  • Use the arrows to go to kernel line.
  • Press a or e to append this entry.
  • At the end of the line add the word single or the number 1.
  • Press Enter to accept the changes.
  • Press b to boot this kernel.

A series of text messages scrolls by and after a short time, a root prompt appears awaiting your commands (#).

Note.png
Encrypted partitions
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. You can type reboot and press enter to restart your system.

Reset Password When Boot Loader is Password Protected

  1. Boot from the install or rescue CD/DVD.
  2. Select "Rescue installed system."
  3. Answer the prompts for language and keyboard. Starting the network is optional and not needed.
  4. Let the rescue mode mount your file systems in the read/write mode.
  5. Hit Enter to get the shell prompt.
  6. At the prompt, enter the following commands. Do not enter any # mark or the text following it. These comments are shown for explanatory purposes only.
    chroot /mnt/sysimage   # Change to your disk file system
    passwd                 # Change the root password
    exit                   # Exit the chroot environment
    exit                   # Exit the rescue mode

The system now unmounts the file systems and reboots.

Reset Password When BIOS is Password Protected

If entering recovery mode is not possible due to a forgotten BIOS password which is required to select an alternate boot device, then two options remain:

  1. See your motherboard manual for instructions on resetting the BIOS password in CMOS memory, usually by moving a physical jumper.
  2. Physically change the boot order, or, temporarily move the system harddrive to another machine, and reset its password there.