How to Reset CentOS root Password

In server administration, it’s not uncommon to forget or lose the root password for your CentOS system. However, there’s no need to panic. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of resetting your CentOS root password, allowing you to regain access to your system.

This tutorial is designed to be easy to follow, even for beginners. Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to understand the importance of the root password in a CentOS system.

The root password is a critical component of CentOS, a popular choice for its stability and robustness. As a Linux distribution, CentOS is widely used in dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting environments.

The root user, also known as the superuser, has the highest level of access to the system and can perform administrative tasks that other users can’t. Therefore, having access to the root password is crucial for managing and maintaining your CentOS system.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resetting Your CentOS Root Password

Step 1: Reboot the CentOS Machine

The first step in resetting your CentOS root password is to reboot your machine. This can be done using the reboot command in the terminal or by manually restarting the machine.

Step 2: Access the Select Menu

As your machine is booting up, press any key to enter the select menu. This menu allows you to choose different boot options and modify the boot parameters.

Step 3: Navigate to the Second grub.conf Line

In the select menu, press ‘e’ to navigate to the second grub.conf line, which corresponds to the kernel. The grub.conf file is the main configuration file for the GRUB bootloader, which is responsible for loading the Linux kernel.

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Step 4: Edit the Kernel Line

After navigating to the kernel line, press ‘e’ again to edit it. Here, you have three options:

  1. Option 1: Add ‘1’ at the end of the line.
  2. Option 2: Add ‘S’ at the end of the line.
  3. Option 3: Add ‘single’ to “ro root=LABEL=/ single”.

These options set the system to boot into single-user mode, which allows you to perform administrative tasks without needing the root password.

Step 5: Confirm Your Changes

After making your edits, press “ENTER” to confirm them.

Step 6: Reboot the Machine

Next, press ‘b’ to reboot the machine. This time, it will boot into single-user mode.

Step 7: Access the Command Line

After the machine reboots, it will stop at the ‘#’ command line. This is the prompt for single-user mode.

Step 8: Create a New Password

At the ‘#’ command line, type ‘passwd’ to create a new password. You will be prompted to enter the new password twice for confirmation.

Step 9: Reboot the Machine Again

Once you’ve successfully created a new password, reboot the machine as usual. This time, itwill boot into the normal mode.

Step 10: Finish

Congratulations! You have successfully reset your CentOS root password. You can now log in with your new root password and regain full access to your system.

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Commands Mentioned

  • reboot – This command is used to restart the machine.
  • passwd – This command is used to change the password of a user. In this case, it’s used to change the root password.


Forgetting the root password of your CentOS system can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re responsible for important tasks that require root access. However, as we’ve seen in this guide, resetting the root password is a straightforward process that can be accomplished in a few steps. By rebooting the system into single-user mode, you can bypass the need for the root password and create a new one.

Remember, the root user has the highest level of access in a CentOS system, and therefore, the root password should be kept secure and confidential. Regularly changing your root password is a good practice to enhance the security of your system.

Whether you’re running CentOS on a dedicated server, a VPS server, or a cloud hosting environment, knowing how to manage the root password is a crucial skill.

Hope this guide has been helpful in enhancing your server administration skills and knowledge.


  1. What is single-user mode in CentOS?

    Single-user mode, also known as maintenance mode, is a mode in Unix-like operating systems such as CentOS where a multi-user system is booted into a single superuser for maintenance or administrative purposes. In this mode, the system runs only a small subset of services, and the user has control over all processes.

  2. What is the role of the root user in CentOS?

    The root user in CentOS, also known as the superuser, has the highest level of access to the system. The root user can perform tasks that are restricted for other users, such as installing software, changing system settings, and accessing all files on the system. Therefore, the root password should be kept secure.

  3. What is the GRUB bootloader in CentOS?

    The GRUB bootloader, or Grand Unified Bootloader, is a program that loads the Linux kernel into the system’s memory to start the boot process. It allows users to choose from multiple operating systems installed on the system. The grub.conf file is the main configuration file for the GRUB bootloader.

  4. What happens if I forget the root password in CentOS?

    If you forget the root password in CentOS, you won’t be able to perform administrative tasks on the system. However, you can reset the root password by rebooting the system into single-user mode and changing the password from there, as explained in this guide.

  5. Why is CentOS a popular choice for server environments?

    CentOS is a popular choice for server environments due to its robustness, stability, andstrong security features. It’s a free and open-source platform, making it a cost-effective choice for businesses. CentOS also has a large and active community that provides valuable support and resources. It’s widely used in various hosting environments.


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