Linux reset forgotten root password

Q. I forgot my root password, how can I get into my system?

A. You can reset forgotten root password under Linux by booting system into single user mode or emergency mode (also known as rescue mode).

My boot loader is GRUB (see LILO boot loader below)

)Following is the procedure to reset root password if you are using GRUB as a boot loader:

  1. Select the kernel
  2. Press the e key to edit the entry
  3. Select second line (the line starting with the word kernel)
  4. Press the e key to edit kernel entry so that you can append single user mode
  5. Append the letter S (or word Single) to the end of the (kernel) line
  6. Press ENTER key
  7. Now press the b key to boot the Linux kernel into single user mode
  8. At prompt type passwd command to reset password:

You need to mount at least / and other partitions:
# mount -t proc proc /proc
# mount -o remount,rw /

Change the root password, enter:
# passwd
Finally reboot system:
# sync
# reboot

My boot loader is LILO

At LILO boot loader type linux single and press [ENTER] key:
Boot: linux single
When you get the # prompt you will need to type passwd root to reset password:
# passwd
Reboot system:
# sync
# reboot

See also:

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

49 comments… add one
  • Pavlos Jan 21, 2014 @ 16:40

    My boot loader i GRUB

  • Pavlos Jan 21, 2014 @ 16:49

    After the 6th step it starts automatically and it failed

  • Ravichandran Kingmaker Mar 7, 2014 @ 0:54

    Which is the kernal line?

  • Jean-Vitki Jun 19, 2014 @ 15:27

    In my Os the kernel line do not appear
    I use elementary OS Luna

  • Suresh S Aug 12, 2014 @ 11:00

    very use full contents

  • MM Oct 26, 2014 @ 9:46

    Hi, how i can reset my root password with putty???

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