Recover root password

Step 1: For Redhat based distros:

Boot from your first install CD and as the very first screen comes up hit F2 and type:

rescue ( For RedHat «linux rescue» ) and the computer will boot in rescue mode.

It will show a few alternatives, select : ¨mount the existing partitions¨ and go to the shell/console prompt.

( Booting Mandrake in «failsafe» from the Lilo menu does the same )

Step 1: For SUSE:

Boot from your first install CD and press F1 at the first screen, then choose «Rescue System» from the menu and at the prompt type «root» ( you do not need a password )

Step 1: For other distro’s

Boot from the first install CD ( or any Live CD like Knoppix ) and at the bootprompt type:

linux single

(For Knoppix: knoppix single )

Alternative for step 1

Sure with most Live and Rescue CDs you can also just boot in the live version, mount the partition and, as root, make changes to the needed files

Step 2

# cd /etc

( if you boot from knoppix first cd to the partition your lost-password-distro is on )

We need to change two files; ¨passwd¨ and ¨shadow¨:

# vi passwd

< i > ( puts vi in insertmode )

This is the first line:


Make it:


So just get rid of the ¨x¨ and leave the ¨:¨ ( colons )

Save the file:

Press Esc,

write –> :x,

Press enter

Second file to be changed:

# vi shadow

< i > ( insert mode )

The first line is a long scrambled line of characters, just make it:

root:::: ( four : )

Press Esc

Write –> 😡

Press enter

Now you can reboot your computer. Log in as normal user, open a console and type:

$ su

# passwd

Now set the new root password !

Log out as root:


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