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I set administrator password to blank. Now, I can't install new programs (message see in title), or change the admin password ("change" button grayed out). I tried a suggested fix from inside the terminal, but can't type anything into the sudo authentication field.

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The sudo authentication field should stay completely blank as you type. It never displays asterisks, even –  hexafraction Nov 24 '12 at 0:52
    
How did you set the administrator password to blank? "administrator" is a term used on Windows, on Linux we have a root user, and users with administrator privileges, so it's unclear what you mean. –  Flimm Nov 26 '12 at 14:33
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OK, there's two parts to this. First, to answer the question you asked:

Reboot into single user mode (see http://www.debuntu.org/recover-root-password-single-user-mode-and-grub if you don't know how) and set the password for root.

However, I don't think that will solve your actual problem. It sounds like the real problem is that the account you normally log in as is not a member of the sudo group - the root account on Ubuntu normally does not have a password, and is not allowed to log in directly. So, instead, I would recommend that you boot into single user mode as outlined above, then issue the following commands:

adduser youraccountname sudo
passwd youraccountname
shutdown -r now

This will make sure that your user is allowed to become root, and will make sure that your user has a password which you can use when prompted. Once the machine finishes rebooting (the third command there), everything should be back to normal.

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