Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a way to enter the default keyring password using the command line?

For instance:

You have a remote setup of Ubuntu 10.10 thats set to auto login. You don't want to remove the keyring password.

All right the system boots up and logs in automatically, then asks for the keyring password now at this point you can create ssh connections but you can't remote desktop.

What can you do to enter the keyring password at this point?

Also, to better clarify, this is from a remote connection using the command line.

share|improve this question
Let me know if my answer isn't what you were looking for. Otherwise, you can accept it by clicking the green check mark under the vote arrows, for the benefit of people searching the site. – Stefano Palazzo Jan 26 '11 at 2:38

Thanks to python-gnomekeyring Install python-gnomekeyring, this is relatively easy:

python -c "import gnomekeyring;gnomekeyring.unlock_sync(None, 'my password');"

Or as a proper script:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import gnomekeyring
gnomekeyring.unlock_sync(None, 'my password');

I think you don't need to install the package. But it can't hurt to try.

Keep in mind that storing your password on your hard disk is an immense security risk. You should be using this instead:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import gnomekeyring
import getpass

gnomekeyring.unlock_sync(None, getpass.getpass('Password: '));

You can save this script, for example, as and then do the following:

sudo mv /usr/bin/unlock-keyring
sudo chmod a+x /usr/bin/unlock-keyring

From then, you can always just type unlock-keyring and be prompted for a password. Don't do this with the version that contains your password.

You can replace None with the name of your keyring, e.g. 'session', if you want to unlock one that isn't the default.

I'm having a hard time testing this properly, so please let me know if it doesn't work and I'll take a look at it right away. Also let me know if it does work :-)

share|improve this answer

This works definitely!!

After much trial and error I found that the old feisty package "pam-keyring" still contains the "pam-keyring-tool" which you can use to unlock keyrings from the command line. Ubuntu took the tool out of the package after the feisty release, perhaps for security reasons???

Its here:-


unpack it where you want, then do:-


you DON'T make install because you don't want it to upgrade the package at any point.

then edit to the post login config file rc.local to look like this:-

sudo gedit /etc/rc.local 

exec echo ENTER_YOUR_PASSWORD_HERE | /PATH_TO_PAM_KEYRING_TOOL/pam-keyring-tool --keyring=login -u -s

exit 0

hey presto!

share|improve this answer

Thanks to Stefano! His answer got me halfway there, but I found the method, by default, only works when running the python script from the local machine. If you're running locally, you have access to the Gnome keyring. I wanted to be able to run his script via an SSH session, but kept receiving "gnomekeyring.IOerror", because the keyring wasn't accessible. After much googling, I found the solution @

To distill that page down to just the most pertinent part that applies to this situation, add the following to your .bashrc script.

# Export $DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS when connected via SSH to enable access
# to gnome-keyring-daemon.
if [[ -n $SSH_CLIENT ]]; then
    export $(cat /proc/$(pgrep "gnome-session" -u "$USER")/environ | grep -z "DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=")

It's worth nothing that the grep pattern provided in the link didn't work for me, so the one I have above is slightly different.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.