Reset the Root Password on RedHat

If you're here, you're probably in a hurry, so here are the steps.

Boot into your installation

When it hightlights the default choice, hit e as in edit and hit enter

This takes you to a screen where you can edit the grub entry. Choose the line beginning with linux. In there you'll see ro, as in read only, change that ro to rw as in read write. At the end of that same Linux line, put in

Hit ctl+x to boot with the edited linux line. It will boot into a root prompt, no password is required.


to set a new root password. It will ask you to type it again to confirm.

Now type
touch /.autorelabel
exec /sbin/init

Hit enter and it will show that it's relabling SELinux contexts on the screen. It will then reboot. When it gets to the login the new root password that you set will work.

There is another well-known method where you add rd.break to the linux line, but it's a little more complex, though not terribly so, where you have to remount /sysroot with rw and chroot to sysroot. This method seems simpler to me.

This works with RHEL8 and 9. According to this bug report the documented RedHat fix doesn't work with RHEL9, though they may fix it by the time you read this. The way given above works for both RHEL8 and 9, as well as its clones, such as Alma, Rocky, and CentOS.

I don't know if the touch /.autorelabel is needed if you don't have SELinux running, but, as SELinux gets easier and easier to use, I didn't test without it.

As you'll note if you look at the bug report, the method I give is the solution given by Mr. Filipek. I take no credit for it, I have it here mostly so that I can find it quickly if I need it.