Unable to login with root password on esxi 4.1

Posted on 2012-08-20
Last Modified: 2012-08-30
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?
Question by:rdefino
    LVL 116

    Assisted Solution

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    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!).

    Unsupported Method which also works with ESXi 4.1 and 5.0.

    Check if SSH and ESXi shell is running?

    (if you have a vSphere Client connection), it mught be worth a server restart.
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    It sounds like ESX is configured to not allow root logins.  Take a look at this:

    Another possibility is that the root user was tampered with from within VI Client:
    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    or lockdown mode has been enabled???
    Enabling or disabling Lockdown mode on an ESXi host http://kb.vmware/kb/1008077

    Author Comment

    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.
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    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:


    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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