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Trouble resetting root password

I am a newbie with xNix OS's and I am at a hurdle I can't seem to conquer presently.  I installed Fedora Core 9 on a VM instance and I was never prompted for root password (that I can remember).  At any rate, I'm in the shell and I can't seem to get it to accept my reset commands.  see the following sequence:

sh-3.2# passwd root
passwd: no record of root in /etc/shadow, using /etc/passwd
Changing password for root
New password:
Retype password:
passwd: cannot update password file /etc/shadow
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8/22/2022 - Mon