Unable to login with root password on esxi 4.1

I'm unable to login to one of my esx 4.1 host as root.

What's odd is that if I use the password that I believe it is, I get an certain error. the 1st one in the screen shot.

but if I try a password that I know it's definitely not, I get another error..2nd in screen shot.

Any thoughts?
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rdefinoAsked:
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Danny McDanielClinical Systems AnalystCommented:
or lockdown mode has been enabled???
Enabling or disabling Lockdown mode on an ESXi host http://kb.vmware/kb/1008077
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The Support method for a forgotten password is to re-install ESXi 4.1 over the top of the existing ESXi 4.1 OS (VMFS and VMs are preserved!).

http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1317898

Unsupported Method which also works with ESXi 4.1 and 5.0.
http://vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/Reset_root_password.php

Check if SSH and ESXi shell is running?

(if you have a vSphere Client connection), it mught be worth a server restart.
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Seaton007Commented:
It sounds like ESX is configured to not allow root logins.  Take a look at this: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=8375637

Another possibility is that the root user was tampered with from within VI Client: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1008503
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rdefinoAuthor Commented:
when I press ALT-F1, and try to login with root and my password, it tells me it's incorrect. But I can get into the console of the system with these credentials.

also, lockdown is enabled.
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Danny McDanielClinical Systems AnalystCommented:
have you tried clearing/shutting down the vm's and rebooting the host?  It may be in some sort of weird state that is causing these issues.

Also, did you enable lockdown from the console or from the VC?  

from the documentation:

Note

If you enable or disable lockdown mode using the direct console user interface, permissions for users and groups on the host are discarded. To preserve these permissions, you must enable and disable lockdown mode using the vSphere Client connected to vCenter Server.
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