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Resetting the Root Password in Linux

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by Whil Hentzen
Length: 20 pgs
Formats Available: PDF
Press date: 2006/10/21
Latest update: 2006/10/31
Source code: N/A

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So, Bunky, you forgot your root password, eh? Or maybe you've inherited a machine for which someone else set the password and said password wasn't handed down to you. Or perhaps an administrative mistake left a server hidden away in some back corner with an old password that no one remembers anymore. In any case, if you've got physical access to the machine and a little bit of time, you can probably reset the root password which in itself is a cautionary tale about security (but that's another article.)

Table of Contents

1. Preface
1.1. Copyright
1.2. Revisions
1.2.1. History
1.2.2. New version
1.2.3. Feedback and corrections
1.3. References and acknowledgments
1.4. Disclaimer
1.5. Prerequisites

2. Resetting the Root Password concepts

3. Files of interest to password-resetting folks
3.1. /etc/passwd
3.2. /etc/shadow
3.3. /etc/fstab
3.4. /boot/grub/menu.lst

4. Commands of interest to password-resetting folks
4.1. passwd
4.2. vi

5. Scenarios where a root password can't be reset

6. Overview of password resetting methods

7. Boot the machine to runlevel 1 (Fedora Core)

8. Boot the machine to a shell prompt (SuSE)
8.1. Booting with SuSE
8.2. Why booting to runlevel 1 doesn't work
8.3. Editing menu.lst with SuSE

9. Boot the machine with a Live CD (Knoppix + SuSE)

10. Using a rescue CD

11. Reinstalling

12. GRUB vs LILO

13. Where to go for more information

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