So, I have an interesting problem. The root password on one of our Sun x4500 machines was changed and never communicated. Now, nobody knows what it is. I have physical access to the machine, but no Solaris installation disc. Is there any way to reset the password, this way?


Any linux/bsd distribution which can mount your drive filesystem should have the same capability.

A FreeBSD liveCD would likely be your best candidate in the absence of the Solaris media. (BSDs support UFS.)

Good luck!

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  • Another alternative is the OpenIndiana LiveCD. Since it's an Illumos (Solaris) kernel it also has ZFS/UFS support just like FreeBSD. – notpeter Nov 13 '12 at 16:58

Here is a step-by-step guide to resetting the root password on Solaris 10, it requires you have the Solaris 10 installation disc, and physical access to the machine though.

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  • I have physical access to the machine, but no Solaris disc. Know any other way? – Jeremy Privett May 13 '09 at 23:40
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    Maybe download a Solaris 10 disc and burn it? – WerkkreW May 13 '09 at 23:52

Use the OpenSolaris Live CD: http://www.opensolaris.com/

Boot the Live CD and mount your partition...then clear out the password in the shadow file.

This will work if you're using UFS or ZFS root.

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The one time I've had to do this without physical or console access, I managed to find a privilege escalation exploit that applied to my OS and patchlevel and got a root shell that way. Might be a long-shot, but otherwise I'd take a look at http://www.sysresccd.org/, since it appears to support ufs.

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  • Talk about doing it the hard way! :-) – Brian Knoblauch May 14 '09 at 12:20

You can boot selecting the single user mode in GRUB and then proceding to reset the root password.

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  • Not in Solaris - single user mode still requires you to enter the root password before allowing root privileges. – alanc Sep 2 '12 at 15:48

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