Reset forgotten root password on linux boxes...

I had an old computer with linux installed and had forgotten the root password for it. Unfortunately, I did not have my favourite handy-dany knoppix cd around but did remember that I could get a shell access by appending "init=/bin/bash" to the lilo/grub boot loader, which should be enough to get in and reset the root password.

DISCLAIMER -- I do not take any responsibility for your actions if you go and try this on your friends machine!!

  1. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to shut down the system in an orderly fashion.
  2. Reboot the system and when lilo/grub boot loader get to the point where you select the various installed kernels on the system, type the letter "a" for "append".
  3. You will get a prompt like this to add boot options to the boot string found in your lilo/grub conf file:
    grub append> ro root=LABEL=/
  4. Append "init=/bin/bash" to it to look like this.
    grub append> ro root=LABEL=/ init=/bin/bash

    This tells the kernel to drop to a root prompt bash shell instead of starting the "/sbin/init" process.

  5. The root filesystem is currently mounted read only which needs to be changed to read/write prior to resetting the password.
    # mount -o remount,rw /
  6. Now that the file-system is remounted read-write, go ahead and type `passwd` to change the root password.
    # passwd
  7. Since "init" isn't running to safely take down the system, remount the system to read only prior to shutting down the system.
    # mount -o remount,ro /
  8. You can now safely press on the power button to shutdown the sytem.

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reset forgotten root password

nice one... i too had the same issue which i resolved it at