Recover your Linux Root Password

On September 5, 2009, in password, recover, root, by Dipin Krishna

Just follow the below steps to recover it.

1. Reboot your system and at the GRUB press “e”. Edit the first line and make sure it says “linux single”. Then press “b” to boot the new entry line.

2. You will now have access to a BASH prompt. Enter the following commands:

cd /etc
nano passwd

and look for a line somewhere at the top of the file that looks like this:


You must remove the “x” from that line so it will look like this:


And save the file.

3. Run the following command:

nano shadow

Edit the first line in the shadow file by removing the encrypted password. The line must now look exactly like this:


Now save the file.

4. Reboot the system and log in as a normal user, then set your new root password using the following commands:

$ sudo su
$ passwd



1 Response » to “Recover your Linux Root Password”

  1. Robert says:

    I would think editing the passwd and shadow file would be a little risky, especially for less experienced users.

    I find it easier to add ‘rw init=/bin/bash’ to the grub command. ‘rw’ to mount the drive in read/write mode, and ‘init=/bin/bash’ immediately fires up a bash shell as the root user for the terminal. Then it’s as simple as entering:


    to change the root password. (Note, this completely bypasses any root password that was already set.)

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