How to Reset Forgotten Root Password in CentOS 8

It’s not uncommon for users to forget their root password. This happens especially if you haven’t logged in as the root user for long periods of time. In this brief guide, we will walk through the steps of resetting a forgotten root password in CentOS 8 Linux.

Read Also: How to Set Up Automatic Updates for CentOS 8 and How to Reset Forgotten Root Password in RHEL 8

Let’s get started…

Reset Forgotten root Password in CentOS 8

First, reboot or power on your CentOS 8 system. Select the kernel you want to boot into. Next, press ‘e’ on the keyboard to interrupt the boot process and make changes.

CentOS 8 Boot Menu
CentOS 8 Boot Menu

On the next screen, locate the ro (read-only) kernel parameter as highlighted below.

Locate Kernel Parameter
Locate Kernel Parameter

Replace the kernel parameter ro with rw and append an extra kernel parameter init=/sysroot/bin/sh. In a nutshell, simply replace the kernel parameter ro with rw init=/sysroot/bin/sh.

Replace Kernel Parameter
Replace Kernel Parameter

Once done with making the changes, hit Ctrl + X combination on the keyboard to enter single-user mode.

Next, run the command below to mount the root file system in read and write mode.

:/# chroot /sysroot
Mount Root File System
Mount Root File System

You can now change the root password by executing the command:

:/# passwd root

Provide a new root password and confirm it. For best practice select a password with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numerical and special characters to boost password strength.

Reset Root Password
Reset Root Password

Next, run the command below to enable SELinux relabelling.

:/# touch /.autorelabel
Enable SELinux Relabelling
Enable SELinux Relabelling

To apply the changes, exit and reboot the CentOS 8 system.

:/# exit
:/# reboot
Reboot CentOS 8 System
Reboot CentOS 8 System

Upon reboot, the SELinux relabelling process will commence. Give it about 3 minutes.

SELinux Relabelling Process
SELinux Relabelling Process

When the relabelling process is done, the system will reboot and thereafter, you will be presented with a logon screen upon which you can now log in as the root user with the new password that you just set.

We hope this tutorial will be beneficial to you. Feel free to weigh in your feedback if you are stuck.

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15 thoughts on “How to Reset Forgotten Root Password in CentOS 8”

  1. I have just tried this, but when I get to the # chroot /sysroot step, I am being told: “chroot: failed to run the command ‘/bin/sh’: No such file or directory”.

    Please can you help me?

    Thanks, Joe

    Reply
  2. Hi

    The Process was done successfully, but now it keeps on rebooting a lot after autorelabel log, is it suppose to do like that?

    Reply
    • Hey Tebogo, It shouldn’t keep on rebooting. Kindly check your configuration once again and ensure you follow the guide carefully. Also, you can paste your configuration so that I can diagnose what’s wrong.

      Reply
  3. Thank you!

    Is there any difference in resetting the root password between Centos and Red Hat?

    Are you planning to write a similar article about Debian/Ubuntu?

    Reply
    • Hey David, yes it is. A similar article on how to do it on RHEL 8 is scheduled within the course of the week.

      Reply
    • Hey Gnu, This is a guide on resetting a forgotten password on CentOS 8. A guide for RHEL 8 is coming up before the week comes to an end.

      Reply

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