Changing or Resetting a Lost Root Password on ESX or vSphere

This lesson describes how to reset a lost password on vSphere 4 and ESX 3.x. This information is based off of VMware KB article 1317898 which can be found here:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1317898.

vSphere 4

1.Reboot the ESX host.
2.When the GRUB screen appears, press the space bar to stop the server from automatically booting into VMware ESX .
3.Use the arrow keys to select Service Console only (troubleshooting mode).
4.Press the ‘a’ key to modify the kernel arguments (boot options).
5.On the line presented, type a space followed by the word single.
6.Press Enter. The server continues to boot into single-user mode.
7.When presented with a bash prompt such as sh-2.05b#, type the command passwd and press Enter.
8.Follow the prompts to set a new root user password.
9.When the password is changed successfully, reboot the host using the command reboot and allow VMware ESX Server to boot normally.

ESX 3.x

1.Reboot the ESX host.
2.When the GRUB screen appears, press the space bar to stop the server from automatically booting into VMware ESX .
3.Use the arrow keys to select Service Console only (troubleshooting mode).
4.Press the ‘e‘ key to modify the kernel arguments (boot options).
5.On the line presented, type a space followed by the word single.
6.Press Enter then press the ‘b‘ key to boot the ESX host in single-user mode.
7.When presented with a bash prompt such as sh-2.05b#, type the command passwd and press Enter.
8.Follow the prompts to set a new root user password.
9.When the password is changed successfully, reboot the host using the command reboot and allow VMware ESX Server to boot normally.

ESX 2.x

1.Reboot the ESX Host.
2.When the LILO screen appears, press the space bar to stop the server from automatically booting into VMware ESX.
3.At the LILO prompt select linux, adding the -s to the end of the line. For example: linux -s.
4.Press Enter. The system begins to boot. The server continues to boot into single-user mode.
5.When presented with a bash prompt such as sh-2.05b#, type the command passwd and press Enter.
6.Follow the prompts to set a new root user password.
7.When the password is changed successfully, reboot the host using the command reboot and allow VMware ESX to boot normally.

This entry was posted in VMware and tagged , , by virtualdennis. Bookmark the permalink.

About virtualdennis

I have over 18 years helping small to large enterprise businesses nationwide with their enterprise storage, backup and recovery, disaster recovery and system virtualization solutions. He holds numerous storage and virtualization certifications and has personally delivered over 300 complex enterprise solution implementations. He has been privileged to speak at various national events on the topics of datacenter virtualization, end-user virtualization, hyper-converged infrastructure and disaster recovery.

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