Reset vCenter Appliance Root Password

If you have lost your root password to the vCenter Appliance, OR, if you had password expirations on the root account and the password is expired, here is a way to reset the password and regain access to vCenter.

  1. Reboot the vCSA using the vSphere Client.
  2. When the GRUB bootloader appears, press the spacebar to disable autoboot.
  3. Type p to access the appliance boot options.
  4. Enter the GRUB password

    • If the vCSA was deployed without editing the root password in the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI), the default GRUB password is vmware.
    • If the vCSA root password was reset using the VAMI, then the GRUB password is the password last set in the VAMI for the root account.
  5. Use the arrow keys to highlight VMware vCenter Server Appliance and type e to edit the boot commands.
  6. Scroll to the second line displaying the kernel boot parameters.
  7. Type e to edit the boot command.
  8. Append init=/bin/bash to the kernel boot options.
  9. Press Enter. The GRUB menu reappears.
  10. Type b to start the boot process. The system boots to a shell.
  11. Reset the root password by running the “passwd root” command.
  12. Restart the appliance by running the reboot command.

Additional Information

The vCSA allows you to establish your own password expiration and warning email policies by using the Admin tab of the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI).
By default, the password expiration on the local root account in the vCSA is set to 90 days after the password has been changed. This typically occurs at first boot. If the password is not changed on installation, there is a 90-day period before expiration.Email addresses configured in the Admin tab in the VAMI (https://IP_address:5480 or https://VAMI_host_name:5480) receive email notifications each day for seven days prior to password expiration. The email settings, such as relay SMTP server, are configured through the vSphere Client in the vCenter Server mail settings.

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