When I install Ubuntu, it never shows an option to set a password, yet there is a password when trying to log in to the admin account and when I try to install packages. I can't change the password in Root because when I try to it says "Authentication manipulation token error". When I try to fix the shadow password thing in root it says access denied.

2 Answers 2


You aren't supposed to add a password for the root account. We have something called the sudo mechanism to handle that. Instead, you add users to the admin account. All those users can then run commands or programs as root by running sudo command for terminal commands or gksu command for GUI apps to run as root, such as gksu gcalctool though that example obviously makes no sense)

When you're being asked for a password when installing things, etc, it is your own password you should use. This way, it is possible to enable others to do administrative tasks without having to share passwords and keys. It is also configurable to allow someone to run a specific command as root, but not others, but you won't normally touch that.

The first user you created is by default the admin account.

  • The first user ... is by default an admin account: you can add others (as you say before "you add users to the admin account").
    – enzotib
    Feb 4, 2012 at 17:04
  • account -> group? -- Check /etc/sudoers to see why sudo succeeds for users in the admin group. You need root privileges to read this file.
    – krlmlr
    Feb 4, 2012 at 18:43

You can use root privilege to run commands/applications by adding sudo , gksu key word on start of any command. like sudo gedit and it will ask you admin password
Also for switch terminal to root level, use sudo su.

In any case, you can change root password by following procedure:

  1. Start a terminal (by pressing Ctrl+t)
  2. Run sudo -s to accessing root privilege
  3. Run passwd root for changing root password. It will ask you new root password.
  4. Now you can login using root and if you open a terminal, you can see # in prompt.
  • I would advice against using this. It is more likely to break things in the long run than anything else (and it only has to go wrong once).
    – Rinzwind
    Feb 7, 2012 at 11:21
  • If an admin wants it, it is here. In addition, do you try to boot Ubuntu using recovery console? It allows anybody to access root level! I used this procedure to change root password for more ensuring about unauthorized access to my PC. Feb 7, 2012 at 12:48

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