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I decided to change the root password that came preset on a fresh DigitalOcean server (ubuntu 12.04).

I used the first answer to this post: How to change root password in ubuntu?

which is:

sudo -i

(set my new password on prompt)

sudo passwd -dl root

Now I can't login as root on tty1 on my server, nor can I access my server on Filezilla, etc...

What did I do wrong, and more importantly how can I recover my root login?

Thank you for your help.

share|improve this question
that last command disabled root – Mateo Mar 26 '14 at 1:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The command

 sudo passwd -dl root

is for disabling root and removing root password. As explained in man passwd:

-d --delete

Delete a user's password (make it empty). This is a quick way to disable a password for an account. It will set the named account passwordless.

-l --lock

Lock the password of the named account. This option disables a password by changing it to a value which matches no possible encrypted value (it adds a ´!´ at the beginning of the password).

So you just need to set root password again.

So, first execute in a terminal

sudo passwd root


sudo -i

you will be prompted for a new Unix password. Write it twice (second time for confirmation).

Then execute

sudo passwd -u root 

to unlock the account. This should return

passwd: password expiry information changed

Now you will be able to access root. But it is not a good idea as you can see here.

share|improve this answer
Thanks! The problem is that I don't know how to access the shell prompt again. I am currently stuck on the tty1 login prompt that I access either with their html console ( or via ssh. – SpidrJeru Mar 26 '14 at 11:38
it appears I was connecting to my server this way ssh instead of ssh root@my.server.ip. The later allows me directly in shell prompt (if ssh keys are properly set up). – SpidrJeru Mar 26 '14 at 12:18

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