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Resetting Root Password on Ubuntu 24.04 Linux

Forgetting the root password on your Ubuntu system can significantly hinder your ability to perform essential administrative tasks. However, there’s no need to worry. Ubuntu Linux provides a relatively straightforward process to reset the root password, ensuring you can regain full access to your system. This guide walks you through the necessary steps to reset your root password, helping you to restore your administrative capabilities without much hassle.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to access the GRUB menu
  • Editing GRUB menu options for root password reset
  • Resetting the root password via recovery mode
Resetting Root Password on Ubuntu 24.04 Linux
Resetting Root Password on Ubuntu 24.04 Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Ubuntu Linux (any recent version)
Software No specific software required
Other Physical or console access to the machine
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Resetting the Root Password

PHYSICAL ACCESS: THE KEY TO SYSTEM SECURITY
The ease of resetting the root password in Linux systems, including Ubuntu, might initially seem like a security flaw, but it’s designed with a crucial consideration in mind: physical access control. Essentially, if an individual has physical access to a computer, they can potentially bypass most security measures anyway. The reset process requires such access, emphasizing the principle that physical security is paramount. It’s a reminder that protecting physical access to your device is as crucial as securing the software on it. 

 

To regain access to your system as the root user, follow these steps:

  1. Access the GRUB Menu: Restart your system. As it begins to reboot, press and hold the Shift key (for systems with BIOS) or the Esc key (for systems with UEFI), to bring up the GRUB menu. This menu allows you to select different boot options.
    This is your first step towards resetting the root password, as it allows you to modify boot parameters. 

     

    Access the GRUB Menu
    Access the GRUB Menu
  2. Edit GRUB Menu Options: Use the arrow keys to navigate to the Ubuntu menu item you normally use to boot your system. Press the e key to edit the boot parameters for this entry. Look for a line that includes the parameters ro quiet splash. These control how Ubuntu boots. 
    Edit GRUB Menu Options
    Edit GRUB Menu Options
  3. Modify Boot Parameters: Replace ro quiet splash and any trailing strings with rw init=/bin/bash. This modification tells the system to boot into a bash shell with read-write permissions.
    Modify Boot Parameters
    Modify Boot Parameters

    After making these changes, press F10. Your system will now boot directly into a root bash shell.



     

     

    root bash shell.
    root bash shell.
  4. Reset the Root Password: Once in the root bash shell, use the passwd command to initiate the password reset process.
    # passwd

    Type the new root password when prompted. You will be asked to retype the password for verification.

     

    Reset the Root Password
    Reset the Root Password
  5. Reboot Your System: After resetting the password, reboot your system by running:
    # exec /sbin/init

    This command will start your system normally, allowing you to log in with the new root password.

Conclusion

Resetting the root password on Ubuntu Linux is a straightforward process that can be performed in a few minutes. By accessing the GRUB menu and modifying the boot parameters, you can quickly regain access to your system with a new root password. Remember, having access to the root account provides complete control over the system, so it’s crucial to keep your password secure and to follow best practices for system administration.