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  1. or you could…

    sudo passwd root

    then enter your user password you created when you installed then you will be asked for the ROOT pasword (2x) enter it here and you can log in as root.
    While I appreciate the ‘security’ linix (ubuntu) offers – I don’t like being treated like an idiot


    1. to Tom,
      yeah, thank you ,Tom. you are right. we need to config root password by ourself through typing sudo passwd root in terminal… it works…lol….

        1. Yeah, you’re right, if you forget to log out and walk away from your station, you deserve to have everything wiped. Be responsible. Face the consequences when you make mistakes. I’m not perfect, but I accept what comes when I screw up.

      1. I fucking hate Linux, it’s for stupid people to wimpy to and poor to run Solaris. Fuck you all! NERDS CITY!

    2. hi i just did a root login for a friend cause she didnt remember the password and i cleared that but now it shows up 2 different blue login screens for passwords how can i clear all that so it can load u p a normal boot…

    3. Hi Tom,

      What is the default password for SU command?
      am unable to use that password as “root” for SU,it is displaying as “Authenticaion failed”.
      Could you please guide on this

  2. Tom,


    I understand your point. Not everyone is poweruser. Many user are new; so to avoid damage this sudo thingy was introduced.

    Appreciate your post.

  3. thank-you for the post Tom this has helped a gr8 deal. We can definately appreciate what ubuntu has done with the sudo command to help bring more windows users to the linux environment. Thank-you ubuntu!!!


  4. Tom,
    Thanks for the post. I was breaking my head for the past 1 day on how to login as root. I mostly work on Networked systems in Office and I was worried I couldnt login as root even on my home pc.

    Thanks again!!


    1. HAHAHAH No it won’t you dummy! Learn how to spell in Linux. Its sudo -8 not chmod 564 to permissionize the categories, i know what im talkin about., im in linux class liver 2 and can add users faster than any of you

  5. hi guys


    i always seem to get ” username is not in the sudoers file”
    or when i try sudo su etc i get “sendmail: fatal:open /etc/postfix/ no such file or directory”

    any help overcoming this for a new user would be great.

    thx in adv

  6. well i have a problem…i can’t use sudo command with my user (id 1000), it starts shouting that you need poweruser rights…

  7. i always seem to get ” username is not in the sudoers file”

    Same here. Apparently it’s a known bug. The quickest fix is to install, from the optional servers, only OpenSSH. Don’t install lamp, mail, dns or any of the others. You cand of course add them later with apt-get.

  8. Hmmm…either I don’t have any idea what I’m doing or nobody else does. I think it’s safe to say the problem is me.

    I’ve installed Ubuntu 7.04 numerous times, and each time without exception when I’m prompted for the root password (whether because I’m trying to log in as root or because I’m running the SU command) and I type in the password I specified for my user account, it doesn’t work.

    I can repeatedly log in as myself using my password without any problems at all. But as soon as I type SU in a terminal and I type that VERY SAME password in, Ubuntu won’t take it.

    Sorry, but I have a hard time reading post after post saying my user password is, by default, the same as the root password, when Ubuntu doesn’t seem to think so.

    Again, I’m sure the problem is me, but I have no idea what to do.


  9. Bob,

    su command is outdated. You need to type the following command to become root user (enter your own account password):
    sudo -i
    sudo bash


  10. in ubuntu linux you can unlock the root user by resetting the root password


    sudo passwd root

    (This will ask for the sudo user password and then the new UNIX password, which will be your new root password)

    once password is reset do

    su – root

    and enter the new root password it should take you in as root.

  11. thanks a bunch! Have been learning Linux/Ubuntu for a class and using a Live Cd. Couldn’t use the su command but with your post was able to get to the root and complete my lesson!
    Thanks again.

  12. “MICROSOFT!!!!” doen’t protect you from your administrator account. Where is the FREEDOM that Richard Stallman talked about Freedom to mess my system up if i want to??

  13. UAC in vista prevents a local administrator from running their shell\environment with their administrative ‘token’ during normal use. If they perform an admin task, UAC prompts the ‘administrative’ user to click ‘Continue’ or equiv (thus temporarily ‘grabbing’ their admin token).

    If user is NOT a local administrator, they must enter credentials of a local administrator.

    Kind of like sudo…. ish.

    Vital move on MS’s part. And over time will get users into the right from of mind eg. principle of least privilege – if they know it or not.

    Windows users have been used to having ‘full access’ by running as administrators. also means they get broken computers more quickly!! that has had to change.

    brings windows more inline with *nix security model. which can only be a good thing imho – everybody wins except the malware authors.

    windows boy through and through (enterprise admin for 6 yrs), just starting my journey into linux and chose ubuntu. a few frustrations but loving it so far.

  14. ////////////////////////hi\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
    int good day () {

    printf (“i have one question
    are there any one can
    give me cure to solved
    my problem i wanna be
    login as root nothing
    a less are this
    available on Ubuntu
    so what my question i
    repeat is i can login
    root itself not as
    root ? i wait for
    answer !!!!!!!!!!!!\n”);

  15. i installed linux but i put a password on the root and made the admin acount that i started with a limited acount and i cant get in to the root and cant access what i need in the limited account any guesses i’ve tryed everything you guys suggested but still cant get in

  16. mr.fucaway:

    error: function "main" is missing
    error: function good: day is a bad input.. shall it be "good (day)?" Still.. the variable "day" is undeclared
    error: function "int good" doesn't return any value

  17. Hello all,

    I have installed ubuntu 8.10. it working fine but there is problem that whenever i reboot my system it not retain all the values those i setup last time.
    e.g Network IP setting , proxy setting even the softwares those i installed last time.

    it just makes ubuntu like fresh install

    how can i fix it
    please tell.
    Muhammad Danish Khan

  18. @Muhammad,

    You must be booting from CDROM.

    Once booted, you need to install Ubuntu on hard disk and after that remove disk from a CDROM.

  19. Sorry for late
    And by the way my problem
    Is solved with ubuntu how ??

    It’s simple to set root password
    Write this command

    username@localhost-desktop:~$ sudo root
    [sudo] password for username:

    here put your own password ok
    output system must be as this

    username@localhost-desktop:~$ root: command not found

    Now you are resetup root password
    Root in ubuntu not support for
    Login gui mode so you must
    Allowed to adimistrator login gui gnome
    write this command
    gksu /usr/sbin/gdmsetup
    And enter your own password
    Go to tap security and do check on this
    Allow local system administrator login
    Now just close and press Crtl+Alt+Backspace
    Now you logout and login with root and your password
    Good luck for all
    e-mail is

  20. On the “root” login issue – I have just loaded ubuntu 8.1 (downloaded the install CD, booted from CD and hey presto an OS that actually works! a machine that is ten times faster than (spit) Vista! Anyway I digress, having remembered some Unix stuff from long ago I did the following:
    sudo passwd root
    (Enter my OWN login password)
    you are then prompted for your UNIX password
    (enter this twice)
    you are now superuser root
    (exit to return to normal user)

    Please be aware you can do lots of damage as superuser so only use if absolutely necessary and exit as soon as possible! Oh by the way I really love the multiple “Desk” options, I now have one for browsing, one for mail, one for other work and one showing Wallace & Gromit films.


    1. excelent work.dude… it worked.. Ive changed IP and setup proxy.. enjoying with Internetttttttttttt…

  21. I thank Tom for suggesting the
    $sudo passwd root
    command. (That’s what I was looking for, an answer to:
    Q: can a generic sudoer change root password, or not because of some security reason? )
    I agree that an user with non-so-bad linux skills should run this command just after any ubuntu scratch installation, and have an “ordinary” superuser account, to use with consciousness when doing big administration stuff. However, it’s my impression that the “sudoers-thing” is not bad, even if you know what you are doing… sometimes you just want to be super-user for a single command (e.g. “sudo synaptic”)

  22. Ok, so if I understand this , root user is protected and no one can login that way?

    But if that’s the case- why did my mass storage slave hardrive get installed that all it’s files are as root ownership. That makes it so that I cannot set permissions on any of those files?

  23. Believe it or not, this is a rather annoying issue.

    Let me say this: This assumption that Ubuntu makes in limiting access using what amounts of vague commands to the novice user is redundant, as the novice user doesn’t know anything about the vague commands of Unix, Linux, etc.

    Having personally worked with Unix for over 25 years, I find my situation infuriating to say the least.

    So, here’s the deal: I did a moduser and changed my groups. Unfortunately I forgot to include the ‘admin’ group in the -g list, thereby (and I am assuming here) I was removed (?) from the sudoers file.

    So, my one and only user no longer has admin privs and/or cannot access sudo because of this file. So, I cannot mod users, modify the sudoers file, update, or just about anything without the #$%^$#@ root password (see first note above.)

    So, reading this page has been somewhat amusing since at least one person has stated (without any solution) that they do not have access to modify the suoders file. I hope there is a simple solution to this, because if I have to reinstall the system I am really not going to be happy.

    For you techies, think of this as a semaphore-resource lockup issue.

    The duality of the sudoers file without a secondary command to change that file without actually requiring the file is… shortsighted, and obviously remains and issue based on the number of posts regarding this issue.

    1. You pulled a dumbshit move like that and claim to have 25 years of Unix experience?

      I call shenanigans.

      Why are you using Ubuntu, anyway? And do you not see how idiotic it would be to NOT require root/sudoer access to the sudoer file?! ANYONE and ANYTHING could modify it.

  24. Thank you. That did it…

    Seen on a global level, I understand that there is a need for security and to try to prevent certain actions that a typical user might screw up. However, Linux (as a mostly command-driven OS) and even in its GUI form is a bit more difficult to permamently screw things up with all the command-line options.

    If you were to *cough* take Vista as an example of an OS trying to be more intelligent than the user and continually ask questions that either the knowledgeable user may know, or the noob wouldn’t know anyway – it just doesn’t work. Trashing your system is a right and a priviledge; we shouldn’t force the user to make security decisions. After all, that’s how you learn – mess up the OS a few times and you WILL learn. And if you’re in a position of authority to blow away something important, well, that’s why there is backups that no one really ever does either…
    My $.02

  25. I have doubt… Can someone unlock my root account remotely?

    Thought that the user account created on the installation steps was the root.. but no! :(
    Anyway-.. it’s better to lock root instead of leaving it unprotected (with no password) like on some old linux distributions..

  26. Ubuntu normally restricts access to the the root account and we have to run the sudo command to execute all commands . So how do we break out of this .
    reboot your system and boot the ubuntu box in RECOVERY MODE . then choose the option root shell with networking .
    now one u select thats the system will boot to the root shell ( almost like the single user mode with networking )
    Note : Its might try to set up networking ,just wait for sometime .

    the one youe reach the hash prompt i.e # gibe the commands passwd n change the root password
    # passwd
    Enter New root password …
    And Hurray ! one ur logiin to your ubuntu account
    give su – and your new password for root and u get a roots prompt #

  27. The problem for administrators who are NOT command line experts is that all the nice GUI support that is available cannot be used easily. Every time I try to do something I need as an administrator, I can’t do from the GUI. Either I have to google the equivalent sudo command or find the GUI tool name and run gksudo to run it with more authority. Then I have a desktop with multiple tools open some with more authority than the other. Same for other tools like pgadmin. A Windows administrator wouldn’t put up with that for long.

  28. i just wiped my system of Microshaft Vista. proud to be a new user of Ubuntu on a laptop that only ships with Vista. im generally in Centos but i wanted something a bit lighter for my laptop. i even bought a Solid state drive for my laptop just for my selection of linux, which is now Ubuntu. i just spent the last 20 min trying to log in as root also. thanks for the SUDO info. ill just have to remember not to type Sudoku…lol

  29. I was being driven mad when i couldn’t log in as root on my own PC and also i was limited to run some of crucial commands.But the commands, “sudo bash”,has restored my joy when am in Ubuntu environments.
    Thanks a lot Ubuntu.

  30. Thanks worked for me, my computer is at home, no one will ever use it but me. I need to use a WYSWYG HTML editor to build a web page. If i could not log in as root my software could not get at any of my files. what a pain in the neck !!!

  31. This ubantu system makes windows vista look pretty good for functionality and ease of use. The rest of it becomes a horror story of authorisations command s which will not work and are totally not necessary. It will never challenge windows as it is not user friendly and the average user doesnt wont to spend all day trying to get permission for this and that with his own system.Even the entry screen is missing an easy to load menu.
    This system is written for totally computor literate operators who see it as a programming hobby and not as an easy to use tool. Cant even put the correct time on the clock without authentication/authorisation………..someone do us all a favor and get rid of this stupid feature which totally ruins the user experience
    The only easy bit about ubantu is that it loads easy and there it ends

  32. I understand that using linux as root can be dangerous, but I just installed it and I need to create a password for the root. I can not leave root with like no man’s land, because it would be even more dangerous.

    Understand that considerations about being root or not is second place when you have just installed the system. What you want most at this time is to make your system secure.

  33. Graham,

    I couldn’t disagree more. There are other distributions of linux out there which are very difficult for a user, for example, CentOS is terrible. A great server, but terrible workstation. I’m still a Linux noob, and I’ve had no trouble with Ubuntu so far. Sure I’ve had to Google a few things, but overall it’s very user friendly. While I agree that Ubuntu won’t ever have the market Windows has, I think that’s mostly because of a lack of exposure. Sure you have to get used to the menus and things look very different, but overall, I think Ubuntu is the perfect OS for a basic user who wants to be able to browse the web (safely), send e-mail, and create documents without selling their children into slavery to pay their Microsoft bill. As for typing in the password to make system changes, there are ways around that, Google is your friend. Also, I’m not sure how older versions may be, I’m speaking from my experience which has been on version 9.04. Good luck.

  34. Very useful. Just want to summarise ways to become root in ubuntn :
    sudo bash
    sudo -i
    sudo passwd root
    enter bew UNIX password (your password)
    retype your password
    passwd: password updated successfully
    then type su – and password
    you become root
    next time when you want to become root you do not need to use sudo
    just su-
    after you add new user, each user can become root by using su –
    hope i make it clear

  35. Hello!

    How to perform maintenance when I do not know the root password.
    I can’t log in because the fsck of the root filesystem failed and need to be manually performed in maintenance mode with the root filesystem mounted in read-only mode.
    To enter the maintenance shell, I need the root password.
    Please help. Thank you

  36. I’ve read and tried every suggestion and everytime I get to the part where I put my password in it says sorry try again, what am I not doing or doing wrong. Trying to change root password.

  37. Dear Nancy,

    I f you have installed Ubuntu, you can try running Ubuntu OS using CD first (booted from CD)and then open the bash terminal. Type the followings:
    sudo passwd root
    (You’ll be asked a password, enter your OWN login password)
    you are then prompted for your UNIX password
    (enter this twice, this would be your root password – superuser)

    Shut down and run the installed Ubuntu (not from CD). You can try to log in as
    root with the new password.

  38. After running most every distro, small & large, I’ve (not so quietly) settled into Ubuntu, though for some of my older stuff, most small Debian-based distros with LXDE, Openbox, jwm, Blackbox are still worth the tad of extra effort to flesh them out for serious computing. We are all spoiled with gobs of RAM & drive space, yet I still appreciate a small distro that just gets her done. Command line is where I started (back when kernel 0.95 in WGS Linux was 1st out), so isn’t such a pain & I actually enjoy most good CLI or NCurses based apps! Just my 9 cents!

  39. My brother reset all of my hard drive. When he put my files back on and put Ubuntu back on he didn’t have time to redo the bar at the bottom and the other Ubuntu things that took me a while to learn. I put the bar back, but it kept overlapping. I then just re loaded the newest firefox toolbar and then restarted the laptop. It came back on, typed in my laptop password. Then this command box appears in the upper left. Said jennifer@jennifer-laptop:~$ with the rectangle on it’s side. I tried my password. Then hslp,etc. I was able to enter new password with sudo passwd root, it said password updated successfully. Now what. I tried sudo bash when it said root@jennifer…. the rest, but the new password didn’t work. Help

  40. hi
    i am shanmukha, i am able to creat a new user, but i ma unable to give password for it.
    after creating new user the passwd command line is coming but it is not taking any letters.

    1. Hi Shanmukha,

      I know this is pretty late to reply you. But I hope I can help u. Watever password u type in the command line will not be visible. This is just an extra security feature. So just have to type ur password and hit the [ENTER] button. Hope I helped:)


  41. Somebody else set up my Ubuntu system – and I have since had it struck by lightening – I cant access the machine because I dont know either the user name or password – what are my options to install the drivers?

  42. Thanks man i dont know anything about Linux. Your a boss!!!! THANKS

    Dylan Laws (Mac,Windows,Android, and now Linux :P)

  43. Man, I’ve been looking everywhere for this info. New install and a noob at the keyboard, but hey, you have to start somewhere so thanks alot.

  44. I just installed a the ubuntu, 11.4 on our dell r810 server. It loads fine and I can login with my user name. When I go to root and attempt to update using sudo apt-get update, it says it cannot wright to a read only directory.
    Files locked!

  45. update:
    Error when attempting to do a apt-get install ununtu-desktop
    States Authentication token manipulation error
    Not using locking for read only file
    even with root access

  46. I cannot use sudo anymore.
    What i did was disable password for my admin account ,still i am asked to enter password which doesn’t exist.
    Can you please help me !!

  47. Answers like this is why linux will never take off.
    If I need to set my own password HOW do I do it………………
    Thanks for Nothing.

    1. @Randy: USERS like you are why Windows will always exist, regardless of how many people use Linux. The article was not about how to change YOUR OWN password, it was about how to use the power of the ROOT user under Ubuntu, and the article answered the question accurately and efficiently, then you come up with an attitude, apparently in a fit of desperation after not knowing how to phrase your question to Google.

      Running their own Linux system isn’t for everyone. You have to have some basic computer aptitude. Perhaps you should try Microsoft BOB if you want a simple GUI based OS.

      Now, @Vivek, the original poster of this article – Thank you – It was EXACTLY what I needed, and of worked quickly and easily. Please dont let Randy’s attitude discourage you from posting more great tips.

  48. Here’s what i did to set a root password on Ubuntu Linux:
    1. open a terminal window
    2. sudo -i
    3. vi /etc/shadow
    A. remove the exclamation mark on the first line (should be root) (x)
    B. save the file (:w!)
    C. exit vi (:q!)
    4. passwd root
    A. enter the password you want root to have
    B. Confirm the passwd

    1. dont know what all that is, but heres a nifty link
      Near the bottom of the page it says how to enable or set a password for the root user, i did it with 2 lines of test
      sudo passwd root
      then you can use
      su root
      and enter your password to login as root.
      a VERY simple way to login as root for the remainder of the terminal session is to use
      sudo su
      it logs u in as root with no password

  49. sudo passwd root

    will prompt you to change the root password, but you need your own password.

    otherwise sudo passwd [username]

  50. On my Fedora 17 installation it won’t even allow me to use sudo since the account does not have admin rights. It won’t even allow me to shutdown the computer without admin rights (wtf), it only lets me suspend. I had to hard shut down the computer, boot into the kernel, etc.. I’m a developer and I have to use this system, but this is simply bad design, an average person would not stand for this.

  51. 1 Add users
    1. Use the adduser command to add (at least) 2 new users. (You select & remember a pw.
    Create a name.)
    2. Show the new dirs in /home.
    3. Pick one of the users. Verify and document the account:
    a) What files are there?
    b) What is that user’s uid?
    c) Use su to “become” that user. Use whoami to verify. cd to their “home” dir and list their
    files. (^D to exit)
    4. Change the password of one of the users from your own account. Verify it was changed by su
    to their account again. (Hard to document since the old/new pw’s don’t show. Just document
    the process and prove to your self it changed.)
    2 superuser activity
    We want to add a file to all user’s accounts. We only have a few accounts in reality, but let’s pretend
    we have 100’s.
    1. Create the file. Make a file called “lab7.txt” with an editor (document your choice) and
    save to your own $HOME dir.
    2. Copy that file to all the other users in /home.
    • One command, not a bunch of commands. You can create a script, or one command.
    • If 1 command, xargs or find with -exec could be used.
    Hint: build the copy command for one, then add the find or xargs. Use -p (xargs) or
    “echo” to test it before you run it.
    • You can’t do this unless you are root. Ubuntu frowns on becoming root in a shell (#) but if
    you are going to pipe, you’ll need to. If you build a script, you can sudo.
    3. Use find to verify the files are there:
    $ sudo find …

  52. I have install ubuntu.
    my user name and password are correct but i didnt set my root password.
    when i want to install something , they ll ask root password. but i didnt get it.
    whats the way to recover my root password.
    any way to disable root password…

  53. I’m running Ubuntu on VMware player.
    How do I set a password?
    If I try sudo -s or sudo bash it asks for a password. Anything I fill in is incorrect.
    How do I set this password in the first place?


  54. hie . . i am unable to type my password using the su command .. The cursor just gets stuck and when i press enter and then type is says Sorry Try again. .

    acer@ubuntu:~$ su
    su: Authentication failure
    acer@ubuntu:~$ *****
    No command ‘*****’ found, did you mean:
    Command ‘*****’ from package ‘mira-assembler’ (universe)
    ***** command not found

  55. Hi All,

    Some one changed permission of /usr/ folder as recursively. Because of this all the folder and file changed their permissions too. Now i am trying to use “Sudo” , to perform writable command like apt-get , vi, chmod etc but terminal throwing a error every time.
    “sudo: effective uid is not 0, is sudo installed setuid root?”.

    Please help me out from this issue other wise i will die. :(

    Thanks in advance,

  56. hey i’m using ubuntu in vmplayer and forgot the administrator password, can you help me?

  57. HI any body can help in installing client for GUI access to godaddy cloud server. You help will be appreciated. Thank you.

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