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ESXi 5.1 root password reset

Posted on 2014-04-23
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Hello experts,

     We aquired a new client some time ago, and they already had in place an ESXi 5.1 host running only one virtual server 2008 R2 VM. The problem is, we do not have the root password to access the host. We have no way of managing this host or VM since we can not log in to it via console or vsphere client. The company also does not have the password and has no way of retrieving it.

    How can we go about gaining access to this host? I know there is no way to simply reset the root password, but I'm trying to figure out our options. I was wondering if we upgraded from 5.1 to 5.5 if we would be given the option to change the root password, but I'm not sure if this is even possible without being able to log in to the host first. I have Google'd around and not found a solution so I'm hoping someone here may have an idea? Thanks in advance.
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Question by:CCtech
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by:CCtech
ID: 40019030
Also, if it helps, we do have admin access to the server, so maybe somehow a VtoV migration to an external storage, then reinstall ESXi, then migrate the VM back, if possible?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 40019074
Okay, you have a few options:-

Method 1. Reset the root password, see here:-

http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/Reset_root_password.php

the above method does work for ESXi 5.1, however it is time consuming.

Official VMware KB Article - which is actually re-install, see Method 2.


Method 2. Re-install ESXi 5.1 or 5.5.

This is the ONLY VMware supported method of password recovery, well it's not password recovery, because you will be re-installing, and selecting a new password.

The installer will detect the current VMFS partition, and Ask do you want to Preserve the VMFS partition, this is where the VMs are stored, so the Answer is YES!

Once re-installed, re-connect using vSphere Client, Browse Datastore, search for the folder, select the VMX File, Right Click it and Select Add to Inventory, Start VM and your done.

some EE Articles I've written



Method 3. Login to existing VM, using RDP install VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5 on the VM, and create a V2V.

some EE Articles I've written



Any questions, please ask, but please remember I'm on GMT (UK Time!)
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by:piedthepiper
ID: 40929498
Andrew if I do a reinstall and preserve vmfs will the networking config remain intact for the local vswitch1?
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