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I'm running version 12.04, GNU GRUB version 1.99-21 Ubuntu 3.1.

When I reset user/admin password using the root shell, it says that the password reset was successful. But, when I try to exit and normally reboot, the new password is not recognized by the system. Why is it not working?

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It's a long shot, but are you resetting the password for the same user you're trying to log in as? – SirCharlo Oct 11 '12 at 16:59
resetting password for user admin cause the machine was given to me without it and cannot contact admin anymore.don't need a password when I log on does it automatically – user96031 Oct 11 '12 at 17:03

Normally, admin is not a user in Ubuntu. The equivalent to admin is "root", but you don't normally need a root password.

In order to perform administrative tasks, you use your normal user account, and use a command such as "sudo" or for gui apps, "gksu".

If you do have a user named admin, then you need to log in with that name and corresponding password. But admin is just another user, not anything special.


Note that the password asked for by the updater is for the currently logged-in user, not some administrator or anything. The user must be in the "sudoers" file, or a member of the group named "sudo". In the old days, this was done by "dropping into a root shell", ie becoming root/superuser (using the "su" command). You would then enter all the administrative commands, and then type "exit" to return to your normal shell. But that required giving all users who might need it the root password, which is not good security; so, modern systems use the sudo method, which allows specified users to have higher levels of privileges without necessarily knowing the root password.

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sorry, just have one user called user and the guest session. I usually use the account user that logs on automatically. Need password to download updates (I've got some350 waiting) and god knows what else – user96031 Oct 11 '12 at 17:14
So how did you change the password for "admin" if there is no user named "admin"? Do you know the password for "user"? If so, that is the one you use for downloading updates, but if this doesn't work, then you need to use the root access to add the user to the sudo group. But it's best to set up an account with your actual name, I think. – Marty Fried Oct 11 '12 at 17:42
sorry that was a bit confusing... there is only one user called <user>. I don't know the password but need it to download updates or do anything else (I guess). I go into root shell by following procedure Finish it successfully (as it says password is reset. than reboot (tryed both by typing <exit> and <reboot>) and try to download updates using new password but it still says the password is not correct – user96031 Oct 11 '12 at 17:54
yes I thought I may set a new user and download updates by that, but is it not a security issue to leave the existing user account to which I do not know the password? and why the reset procedure says password is reset but than it isn't? is that something you call a bug by any chance? – user96031 Oct 11 '12 at 18:02
Not a bug, I'm almost certain. Something in your understanding of the process, or your description. How do you know there is no user named "admin"? If there were not, then the "passwd" program will tell you it does not exist. And if it does, and you reset it, then you must be logged in as "admin" to use that password for updates - it wants the user's password, not the administrator, or root. Oh, and you can remove the existing user's account if you create a new one. – Marty Fried Oct 11 '12 at 18:22

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