Root password

Gilles Gravier ggravier at
Mon Mar 12 17:07:16 UTC 2012

Hi, Bill!

On 12/03/2012 17:21, Bill Stanley wrote:
> Hi,
> Is there any to reset the root password when the original root
> password has been forgotten?  One of my friends has Ubuntu an her
> computer and was trying to change her user password.  She got the root
> and user passwords mixed up and somehow changed the root password
> instead.  She doesn't know what she did and the important thing is
> that the root password is lost.

Actually, there is no "original root password" on Ubuntu. See below.
> Of course, the root password is needed to install applications, run
> sudo and to di upgrades.  I know that there is no way to recover the
> password but is there a way to reset the root password without knowing
> what it is.  Without it, the computer can't be upgraded.  I could try
> to reinstall Ubuntu but many of her settings would be lost and that
> would be a PITA as well.

No it isn't. You run these commands from the account of an administrator
user. And use that user's password to authenticate, and since the user
is administrator, they can run these commands.

If logged in as user "scott" with password "tiger" (my old days of
learning to use Oracle - default user passwords), and you want to run a
system update,
you would "sudo apt-get update" and when prompted for your password, you
would just enter "tiger".

You never NEED a root password on a normal Ubuntu system, unless running
VERY OLD stuff badly writte.

Now if you want to SET a root password, you can always "sudo passwd
root". You will be prompted (by sudo) for your administrator user
password, and then you will be able to set a root password.

But this is unsafe. With root as a directly accessible user, you lose
auditability. Whereas if you "sudo SomeAdminTask", then there is a log
of which user launched "SomeAdminTask"...


More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list