[Swlug] Root Password

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Sat Feb 13 10:06:32 UTC 2016


On 13 February 2016 at 09:07, Sharon <dillyg23 at googlemail.com> wrote:

> Can anyone help.  I have completely forgotten my 'root' password.  I can
> get into linux mint and use my computer I just can't update anything.  I
> would prefer not to have to reinstall if there is a way round this.  I
> would probably be classed as a Newbie as I use it as an operating system to
> do what I need.  I am not into the nitty gritty as it were.

Don't worry, I doubt you'll need to reinstall.Not unless you setup
full-disk encryption, and I think you'd know if you had. In fact, you might
not even have forgotten a password. And don't worry about using the
computer to do what you need - that is, after all, what they're there for.

As you'll have seen from the other replies, there's two ways of handling
root access in Linux distributions, and which Mint does will dictate your
next move, so the first thing to do is find out which:

1) Login, using your normal username and password.

2) Open a terminal. I'm going to tell you to use lots of terminal commands,
not because they're special or indeed different to the apps you'll normally
run, but because once a terminal is open I can give you plain text to cut
and paste into them, like this:

sudo id

Running that command will prompt you for a password. Use your normal
password, the same one you used to login with.

If this works, you have not lost your root password - you simply never had
one. This is OK. Whenever you're prompted for the root password, just use

3) If it didn't work, there's two options. Either your computer was
installed with two users, one of which is an administrator (and your user
isn't), or else, much to my surprise, there actually is a root password.
Let's find out. Type the following command:


That should, amongst other things, print your "uid". If this is 1000, the
chances are that the computer actually has a root password. Follow the
instructions for resetting a Fedora root password that Mark sent.

If it's not 1000, then did you have another user setup on the system,
perhaps? You can probably see it on the login screen in a drop-down. You'll
need to reset that password using the instructions that Colin sent.

If you get stuck, let me know where you got to.

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