How to Reset your VMware ESX Server root password

by David Davis - January 8, 2009

Just like every other password, it is inevitable that, eventually, you will loose or forget the root password to one of your VMware ESX Server systems. So how do you reset your VMware ESX Server root password? Let's find out...

1. Shutdown and Reboot your VMware ESX Server

If you don't know the VMware ESX Server root password, you don't know any passwords for root-equivalent accounts, and your virtual center server also does not have it cached, the only way to change the root user password is to first shutdown / power off your VMware ESX Server.

2. Press "a" to modify the kernel arguments

As soon as you see the GRUB boot screen, press "a" to modify the kernel arguments, like this:

3. Enter single user mode

At the end of the kernel arguments command line, type "single" and press Enter, like this:

4. Change the root password

Now, change the root password using the passwd command, like this:

You will need to enter the new root password twice.

5. Reboot the ESX Server

Once you have reset the root password, reboot the server to go back into multi-user mode.

6. Verify the new password

Once the system reboots, verify that the new root password works, like this:

In Summary

Resetting the VMware ESX Server root password is not difficult but you will have to bring down the server, enter single user mode, use the passwd command, and reboot to get the task completed.

Please don't forget to checkout my VMware ESX Server video training series!

Got a question? Post it on our VMware Forums!

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