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How To Reset Linux Forgotten Root Password

Too forgetful or too much security enforcements that have caused you to lost a Linux root password, as most of the time you’re forced to use sudo command for daily admin tasks?

Don’t be so much worry or regret, as you might able to easily reset a Linux lost password in a short while!

I’ve personally tested this Linux trick in Red Hat Linux 9 default installation environment. So, I believe the same trick can be applied on most Linux distribution as well.
A step-by-step Linux password hacking trick – How to reset Linux forgotten root password?

Reboot the Linux machine by pressing the hardware reset button. In a default Linux installation, pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL hotkey might able to reboot Linux immediately too.

Upon Linux booting up to GRUB loader GUI, move the arrow key up/down to highlight and select the Linux kernel and press e to edit the GRUB commands before booting:

A visual step-by-step Linux guide to reset forgotten root password.

Next, move the arrow key up/down to select the Linux kernel and press e again:

A visual step-by-step Linux guide to reset forgotten root password.

Append a single space followed by the word single at the end of edited line, as shown in this snapshot:

A visual step-by-step Linux guide to reset forgotten root password.

After pressing ENTER key, you should now have a similar GRUB screenshot as of follow. Keep the Linux kernel highlighted and press b to boot up with the “single” keyword, which will boot Linux into single user maintenance mode:

A visual step-by-step Linux guide to reset forgotten root password.

Once the Linux boot up completely into single user maintenance mode, the Linux command prompt is ready to execute command. Now, you can type passwd to reset the forgotten root password – without prompting for old root password, just type a new root password and re-type to confirm:

A visual step-by-step Linux guide to reset forgotten root password.

Done. Type reboot or exit to reboot. On next boot up, you can login with the new root password!
So, isn’t it easy to hack or reset a forgotten root password in Linux? Yes, this Linux trick works well on Red Hat Linux Enterprise Linux 4 too. However, bear in mind that the trick will only valid for a default Linux installation or without strengthening Linux security!

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  5. Aziz Farooqui 27-10-07@04:01

    Use switch LABEL =/ linux single

    instead of “single” …

    In red hat linux 9 with GRUB loader

  6. rm 01-09-08@14:51

    excellent! great! it works!

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  8. Kim 31-07-09@08:18

    if i could kiss you right now I would! thank you!

  9. syed khaleel 30-09-09@17:35

    Hey !!

    Thanks a lot I tried is working fine….



  10. arnold 16-11-09@18:55

    i will try when got a chance
    looking effective…………………….

  11. Capers 17-01-10@08:18

    Whenever I get to the grub menu it states enter “p” for password to even select the append options. is there anyway to recover that password as this is the one I need reset… Can u help?

  12. Walker 17-01-10@12:20

    @Capers, that is not the Linux user account password, it is grub boot-loader password. I am sorry to say that couldn’t you now.

    Please anyone who read this and know how to reset the grub bootloader password, please reply to help Capers.

  13. Tatiana 05-02-10@00:29

    Great article !! Very useful. Thanks a lot!!!


  14. arthur a aguila 08-07-10@15:54

    thanks super !!!

  15. amol 06-08-10@18:04

    thanks for specially work for help for Linux

  16. big tim 11-08-10@03:33

    alt+ control+ delete+ did not work for me.does any one else know how to by-pass password on red hat linux.

  17. needs help 13-01-11@15:13

    just got a computer second hand. its running linux redhat 7.1. i would like to simply change to windows, can i do this seeings as how i dont have user name or password?

  18. Ganeshkumar 12-04-11@14:08

    How to reset linux forgotten root passwd in remote system

  19. Mimi 19-07-11@04:09

    Great, now how do I do it on a text-only system?

  20. pinta 31-01-12@19:49

    Great and Thank You so much…really helpful…>>>Terima Kasih (Indonesian)

  21. FK 17-04-12@03:17

    Very cool! Still worked in RHEL 5.7.

  22. benz_yass 16-10-12@17:18

    Thanks bro :) very usefull

  23. Fahad 13-12-12@14:55

    Amazing trick.worked right now.

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