Reinstalling Solaris without root password

Posted on 2003-03-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
I just purchased an old SPARCstation 5 from a company and they didn't have the root password.  I have all the install media, but I am unable to execute the boot cdrom command!  How can I get into the PROM to make it boot from cdrom?
Question by:cwall64
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Accepted Solution

davidmwilliams earned 200 total points
ID: 8233638
I'm going from memory, but try pushing STOP-A.

Does your keyboard have a 'STOP' key?  From memory, the keyboard has two columns of special function keys down the left hand side, before the main QWERTY section of the keyboard.  I'm pretty sure there's a special key just up from the bottom which is either 'STOP' or something along those lines.

That breaks the boot process and puts you in the PROM.
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 8235572
And if STOP-A is disabled, then just use the brute force method of power off/on.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 8236396

As the two previous comments said, you first need to get out to the "ok" prompt, also known as the PROM monitor. Easiest way to do this is by pressing the STOP-A key combination on the keyboard. Since you don't care about the integrity of the OS currently on the system, shutting it down cleanly is not an issue.

Once at the ok prompt, insert the Solaris installation CD-ROM into the drive and type "boot cdrom" at the prompt. This will begin the Solaris installation process.
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Expert Comment

ID: 8238085
What if on power off / power on, the server has been set to boot up ???

Ahhhhhh :-)

Well, if you have got a sun key board aka a STOP key and its been set to auto boot, then what ??

Well my lad you need to crash it to the ok prompt.  

By either buying a null modem cable, switch off the pc which will send a break to the solaris server.

Or, remove the cover, disconnect the disk, switch off / on. The switch the autoboot eprom setting to off.  Then switch off, replace disk, switch on.

If its a sparc 5, from a company, i bet you its full of dust and crap ! ;-)  I was on site one time trying to fix a problem which was to do with an old Sparc LX !!! (remember those ??) Anyway, it was hidden uder the desk for years, working as a server of some sort and it had gone wrong.  I opened her up (wahey) and boy, the amount of dust and crap in her !!

Anyway, I digress, you need to achieve an ok prompt, once from the ok prompt you can boot cdrom etc etc.  But, if no root passwd, you will need to crash the bastard.


Expert Comment

ID: 8336879
Hopefully, you're just referring to the root account password and not the Open-Boot-Prom password. If the previous owner has set a password on the OBP, you're screwed. You have to purchase a new (or used) NVRAM chip for a Sparc5 that doesn't have the password set.

Expert Comment

ID: 8401411
do a STOP-A  (old keyboards have an L1 key instead of stop)

you should be at an ok> prompt
setenv auto-boot? false

ok> reset
it will do system reset and memory check
ok> boot cdrom
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Expert Comment

ID: 9372156
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:

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