Resetting a lost ESXi 5.1 root password on a Dell R710

So I found out that no one new the root password to a host in one of the clusters.

So I tried various things to no avail:

  • Had a look in the documentation for it (What it was supposed to be, it wasn’t that)
  • Checked if the keyboard layout was correct (it was)
  • I tried the Host Profiles trick to reset the password to what you want (it didn’t work for some strange reason). It took the profile and applied it and everything, but the password persisted!

Reset root using host profiles

Reset root using host profile in Web Client

  • Tried 2 Linux live cds and it turns out none of them work with Dell servers in general, due to driver issues! I never had this issue on HPs!!!!!! haha

Using Linux Live CD to reset root password 1

Using Linux Live CD to reset root password 1

Then I was left, with the only other choice to do the official supported way:

  • Reinstall!

VMware KB on reinstalling ESXi to recover root password

So I downloaded the ESXi 5.1 Dell ISO from the Dell website and burnt it it CD.

I made a note of the vmkernel/DNS settings etc, I backed up the config just in case using:

VMware KB on backing up ESXi config

Worst case scenario that would restore the forgotten password to and leave be back where I started, but at least I would have a host that could still be used,as we have a lot of different port groups.

Anyway I migrated everything off the host, shut it down and booted it from disc, did a fresh install and put in the correct password.

Booted it back up put in all the basic settings and added it back to vCenter.

I then created a host profile from one of the other hosts in the cluster and then applied it to this host. This brought back all the vSwitch info and all the 20 different port groups and everything. it configured all the other random settings such as firewall rules and NTP settings.

It took longer than I had hoped. I was actually hoping that the Host Profile or Linux CD way would have worked, as I had never done that before, but such is life!


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