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I have an old development server I'm reviving. I'm a medium weak user - I can generally make things work, but it's been a few years and I'm pretty rusty.

Everything is working mostly - I'm using xfce and just upgraded from Ubuntu 14 -->16 -->18. and everything seems to be up to date.

Problem is, before the upgrade my root password was working.

I know this because I had an icon to open a root terminal using gksudo (which is gone now, but no problem I can make an updated version). When I clicked it, I was prompted for a password and it DID work. (The root password was the same as my user, no, don't throw stuff at me, it's just a little development server...)

However, after upgrade, my root password no longer works. I can't login as root remotely or locally, can't su or sudo, nothing. It's like the root user is just gone.

I'd like to reset the root password, but...

  1. My grub menu only flashes for 1 second and won't respond to any keystrokes.

  2. I can't change the grub timeout because I can't modify it without root access.

3.I don't have a disk drive and this is a pretty old computer, not sure if it will work with usb recovery media.

So, before I go get a cd writer and make myself a boot cd, does anyone have any other ideas, or know what might have happened to my root user/password?

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Well, I just used sudo passwd root and it seems to have worked. Ok then. Not sure if this question and answer provide any value to anyone, feel free to delete if not...

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