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I lost my superuser password for Suse 9.1 How can I reset it?

Posted on 2006-07-21
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I can't find or remember my superuser(SU) password for my Linux Suse 9.1. Is there a way to reset the password?
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Question by:phishbone4
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by:
SunBow earned 100 total points
ID: 17158091
Reinstall should work
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by:SunBow
ID: 17158098
Assuming you never made any other users or passwords...
btw, SU does not mean super user, if that helps                                  ;-)
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by:xDamox
xDamox earned 100 total points
ID: 17159585
Hi,

You are able to reset your root passwd by going into single user mode. Instead of me writing a little guide on how to
get into single user mode here is one for you:

http://kbase.redhat.com/faq/FAQ_35_202.shtm

I think SuSE has a failsafe enviroment or a recovery enviroment I am not 100% sure, this is when SuSE boots up.
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by:yurisk
yurisk earned 100 total points
ID: 17162500
Of course there's a way, any Linux like system has a way to reset root (superuser) password,
All you need is 1st CD of the SuSE distribution to boot from, then press F1 to enter recovery mode,
well - not to repeat what others have done before here's a step-by-step howto:
http://wiki.suselinuxsupport.de/wikka.php?wakka=HowToResetlostrootpassword

PS And ignore the reinstall advice, this would destroy all your data when there's absolutely
no need for such damage.
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by:pjedmond
pjedmond earned 100 total points
ID: 17162673
You can probaly boot with any live CD:

http://www.frozentech.com/content/livecd.php

Mount the drive with the /etc/shadow file, and reset the password:

http://linux.about.com/od/linux101/l/blnewbie3_2_3.htm

also includes some other mechanisms.

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by:xDamox
ID: 17162761
Why waste time downloading a live CD just to reset a password?
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by:pjedmond
ID: 17162777
..because sometimes the grub menu is password protected so you can't boot into single mode....and I'm not familiar enough with the Suse recovery process to talk people through it. I know that with a live CD, I can talk someone through the complete process without having to set up a confirmatory test setup.

Of course other people with greater experience may choose a different approach. I don't use Suse, but I'm confident that I can reset the password using a live CD. (Of course the Suse recovery/install disc ...if they still have it?....is effectively a live CD..but we don't know that they have one available - In fact the Q is particularly sparse)

In addition, it is a process that hasn't already been mentioned - This is supposed to be a collaborative forum after all:)

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Author Comment

by:phishbone4
ID: 17167577
On friday I went into logged into single user mode and changed my root password. I didn't think it worked because when I logged in with SU account, it said incorrect password. I realized that root and SU are 2 different accounts. I then logged into root and I got in. I seems that su and root have the same access. So it seems I can do everything I need to do under the root account. Can I change the SU password under root? Thanks for all the help.
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by:pjedmond
ID: 17168296
To change the SU passwd under root:

passwd SU

Enter passwd twicce as requested by the prompts.

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by:xDamox
ID: 17168549
Hi,

To change the password of SU it is:

passwd SU

One question tho why do you have a user called: "SU"? as it is abit confussing with the su command ;)
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Author Comment

by:phishbone4
ID: 17168766
The SU account is built in to the Suse box. I tried to change passwd SU but it comes up as unknown user.
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by:kblack05
ID: 17168860
Just follow the instructions to log in as root (using your original install cd and some kernel command line options as you have) then just issue the passwd command with NO ID.

passwd

root@sv00-1029:~# passwd
Changing password for root
Enter the new password (minimum of 5, maximum of 127 characters)
Please use a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
New password:


SU is an alias to a group setting and under no circumstances should it be an actual userid installed to the server....
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by:SunBow
ID: 17168884
phishbone4 > SU but it comes up as unknown user
xDamox >      with the su command ;)
Try man?
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Assisted Solution

by:kblack05
kblack05 earned 100 total points
ID: 17168886
If you are having a problem then, it would seem your SUDOERS file /etc/sudoers is either corrupted or modified...if you 'man su' you will see that you can simply re-establish the group settings to reinstate SU access..


See EE answer

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Linux/Linux_Administration/Q_20606356.html?query=fixing+sudoers&clearTAFilter=true
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by:xDamox
ID: 17169964
Hi,

I think you have been confused su is used to run a shell with substitute user and group IDs. So say
you were logged in as damian and wanted to become the users phishbone4 you would type the following command:

su phishbone4

This would then ask for the phishbone4 users password. Now if you see something similar to:

su -

This just means that you are changing to root user and the dash means invoke root's paths e.g. $PATH

Now when you logged into single user mode and you were root you needed to type the following:

passwd

Then it would of allowed you to change your password.
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Expert Comment

by:pjedmond
ID: 17170055
If you (as root):

cat /etc/passwd | grep -i su

you'll see whether su, SU, sU or Us exists as a user on your system.

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by:xDamox
ID: 17170095
Hi,

SU is not a user on his system look:

>The SU account is built in to the Suse box. I tried to change passwd SU but it comes up as unknown user.

When it says user unknown this means that it was unable to find the user in the /etc/passwd
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Author Comment

by:phishbone4
ID: 17170469
I'm a newbie with Suse. All I know that is I logged in as SU, it give me administrative access.
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by:xDamox
ID: 17170619
Hi,

Could you type the following commands and display their outputs:

1) whoami

2) id
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by:SunBow
ID: 17172212
su can be convenient way to use a shell to invoke a different working environment by switching users

When in doubt, go to horses mouth. In this case, it appears Suse is primarily installed with a GUI that has two initial entries for the user: the ID and password. This makes it 'easier' to use than the command line interface (CLI), which can be any of a number of shells in the Unix world (although mainly only three choices).

> it give me administrative access

Define Administrative.

Many systems will have GUIs for a lot of those tasks.

> I'm a newbie with Suse.

Then, try also the RTFM method, to get some online documentation, for example, go here, there is, for example, a 10 MB file with a few PDFs you can read offline (sample from there follows link):

http://www.novell.com/documentation/

2.6.1 root Password
+root is the name of the superuser, the administrator of the system. Unlike
regular users, which may or may not have permission to do certain
things on the system, root has unlimited power to do anything: change
the system configuration, install programs, and set up new hardware. If
users forget their passwords or have other problems with the system, root
can help. The root account should only be used for system administration,
maintenance, and repair. Logging in as root for daily work is rather risky:
a single mistake could lead to many system files being irretrievably lost.
Figure 2.12 shows the relevant dialog. For verification purposes, the password
for root must be entered twice. Do not forget the root password. It
cannot be retrieved later.
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by:SunBow
ID: 17172248
                                          <more>
2.8 Graphical Login
SUSE LINUX is now installed. You can start right away without passing
the login procedure if you checked automatic login in the local user administration
module. If not, the graphical +Login window shown in Figure
2.17 on the next page is displayed on your screen. Enter a previously
determined user name and password to log in to the system.

2.6.5 Creating Local User Accounts
When user accounts are created locally, any data related to user accounts
(name, login, password, and so on) is stored and managed on this host.
Linux is an operating system that allows several users to work on the same
system at the same time. Each user needs a +user account to log in to the
system. By having user accounts, the system gains a lot in terms of security.
Regular users cannot change or delete files needed for the system to work
properly. Similarly, the personal data of a given user cannot be modified,
viewed, or tampered with by other users. Each user can set up his own
working environment and always find it unchanged when logging back
in.

A user account can be created using the dialog shown in Figure 2.15. After
entering the first name and last name, specify the user name (login). If you
cannot think of a suitable user name, click ‘Suggestion’ for the system to
generate one automatically.

Finally, enter a password for the user. Reenter it for confirmation (to ensure
that you did not type something else by mistake). The user name tells the
system who a user is and the password is used to verify this identity.

Caution
Remember both your user name and the password because they are
needed each time you log in to the system.
Caution

To provide effective security, a password should be between five and eight
characters long. The maximum length for a password is 128 characters.
However, if no special security modules are loaded, only the first eight
characters are used to discern the password. Passwords are case-sensitive.
Special characters like umlauts are not allowed. Other special characters
(7-bit ASCII) and the digits 0 to 9 are allowed.

Two options are available for local users:

‘Receive system messages via e-mail’
Checking this box sends the user messages created by the system services.
These are usually only sent to root, the system administrator.
This option is useful for the prominently-used user account, because
it is highly recommended to log in as root only in special cases.

‘Automatic login’ This option is only available if KDE is used as the default
desktop. It automatically logs the current user into the system
when it starts. This is mainly useful if the computer is operated by
only one user.

Note
No authentication is performed during system start-up with automatic
login. Do not check this option for systems containing
sensitive data or to which other people have access.
Note
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by:SunBow
ID: 17172301
SunBow > Reinstall should work
yurisk > PS And ignore the reinstall advice, this would destroy all your data when there's absolutely
no need for such damage.
phishbone4 > I'm a newbie with Suse.

Comment: Newbies usually do not have an abundance of critical data yet, and probably rushed through an initial install, if in fact they were present during installation. There is no man command, for example, prior to install. Therefor, when going through an install a second time, one may be a little better learned, and notice some item choices with better understanding. This leads to a more secure system that ends up better satisfying needs of the individual installer.

Unix, especially linux, is also more adept than windows for preserving data during a reinstall due to the ways they handle partitions and formatting, for example.
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by:SunBow
ID: 17172338
                                        <more>[novell.com]
25.3. Important Linux Commands

Miscellaneous

passwd [option(s)] [username]
Users may change their own passwords at any time using this command.
The administrator root can use the command to change the
password of any user on the system.

su [option(s)] [username] The su command makes it possible to
log in under a different user name from a running session. When
using the command without specifying a user name, you will be
prompted for the root password. Specify a user name and the corresponding
password to use the environment of the respective user.
The password is not required from root, as root is authorized to
assume the identity of any user.

halt [option(s)] To avoid loss of data, you should always use this
program to shut down your system.
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