How to reset Administrator/Root password in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

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Almost all Linux distros won’t give you with an easy password reset option on the login screen like typically seen in a Windows computer. But don’t worry, it is simple to change the password through the Ubuntu Recovery mode.

This tutorial should work for almost all Ubuntu versions, but just in case if it didn’t do let us know in comments of which version didn’t work for you. I have tested it on Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS successfully.

Reset root login password in Ubuntu

Step 1: Shutdown the computer.

Step 2: Start the computer and keep the left SHIFT key pressed to boot into Ubuntu boot menu. If you are dual booting with other OS like Windows, then select Ubuntu and then immediately keep the SHIFT key pressing. Note that you are running Ubuntu on VMware, you have to hit ESC button instead.

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Step 3: Use UP/DOWN arrow keys to navigate and select ‘Advanced options for Ubuntu’.

Grub - Ubuntu
Grub – Ubuntu

Step 4: Select second item in the list ‘Ubuntu, with Linux 4.2.0-30-generic (recovery mode)’. The Linux version in your case may be different depending on your Ubuntu version.

Launch Ubuntu Recovery Mode
Launch Ubuntu Recovery Mode

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Step 5: Once in Recovery mode (also termed as Safe mode), use arrow keys to navigate and select ‘root’ and hit enter.

Step 6: You should now see a root prompt at the bottom of the same screen.

root@ubuntu:~#

Currently, Ubuntu file system will be read-only. You must remount it with write permissions:

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mount -rw -o remount /

Ubuntu Recovery Mode
Ubuntu Recovery Mode

Now we shall use unix ‘passwd’ command to reset the password for an account. You must know the account login name.

root@ubuntu:~# passwd kiran
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully

Ubuntu Password Reset Success
Ubuntu Password Reset Success

That’s it.

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Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities, especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. I hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you, Kiran, for this so helpful article! After an update from ubuntu 12 to 14.04 LTS ubuntu wouldn’t accept my original password any more, so I was in a bad fix.
    BUT: Although having followed your instructions (and finding everything as described), I couldn’t go on from the point where it’s asking me for the new UNIX password. NO KEYBOARD STROKE seems to work. If I hit return, it re-asks the new password.
    But in the end I always receive the message that changing the password didn’t work (I’m using German language system, so I didn’t give the exact wording – but the meaning).
    How can I get around this, Kiran? It would be nice if you could give me a clue. Thank you!

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