I got my datacenter to export my virtual machines and send them to me on a disk. They did so as VDI exports.

So I have Virtual Box 5.2 installed. I've created a machine with same specs and attached the VDI file. The machine boots up fine.

It gives me the login screen: Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS compname.domain tty1 compname login:

I enter the username and simply get back compname login:

Whether I enter a right user name or a nonsense name, I get the same thing. I never get the chance to enter a password.

Obviously I was accessing via SSH at the data center. But I thought that for some very basic operations, running in the VirtualBox "terminal" would be the simple way to gain access to this machine.

What am I doing wrong?


  • I have now booted the VM in question from Knoppix and am looking at the drive whose Ubuntu installation will not let me log in. – Daniel Wilson Dec 1 '17 at 13:04

As it turns out, the sudoers file was damaged ... and maybe more stuff. So, here are my notes on recovering the data. Hopefully they help someone in a similar situation.

  • Set broken VM's networking to Host Only
  • boot the broken VM to Knoppix "inserting" the ISO in its "CD drive".
  • Mount the disk
  • Find the stuff wanted
  • start SSH service
  • Create user with known password. The fact he can't sudo is OK.
  • Open up permissions of stuff desired to be retrieved. I'm not sure how this is possible with a read-only HDD, but I'm not arguing.
  • On a different clean VM with plenty of disk space ... also on Host Only networking ... verify SSH to the broken VM under Knoppix.
  • retrieve stuff via rsync
| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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