nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

ESXi 7.0.3 root password reset for standalone installation

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Hi, I have a standalone ESXi 7.0.3 host, and I've forgotten the root password. Would someone be able to give some detailed instructions on how to reset the password please. I've tried Google and several suggest that I need to re-install (upgrade) ESXi, but they're very light on the details as to how I actually do it.

Any help gratefully received.

Thanks, Nick.

 

 

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Ajay1988
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

You should see install ESXi and preserver VMFS. Use that and install ESXi. You should get the ESXi configuration set again if Datastores are FC/iSCSi .If local ; then fine. Once your Datastores are seen; just browse and you should see all the VM files there...Just register the Vms back. 

If you think your queries have been answered
Mark this response as "Correct" or "Helpful".

Regards,
AJ

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22 Replies
maksym007
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

what can be better as KB from VMware and probably the only official supported way
https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1317898

have you checked this article?

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nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi, yes, I've already looked at this. Unfortunately, it just says you need to re-install ESXi, but doesn't actually tell you what the process is to do it. I'm very new to ESXi, so I'm really struggling to work out what I need to do.

 

Thanks, Nick.

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maksym007
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

there are some risky methods to reset ESXi root password. but as mentioned this is not supported by VMware and I will not recommend it too.

 

 

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pmichelli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi Nick

The process is not overly complicated.  

  1. Power off all your running VMs on that ESXi server
  2. Make sure you have a backup of your VMs and/or the data inside them - just in case
  3. Boot the ISO (ideally exact same version and build you are running, unless you want to upgrade at the same time)
  4. When you go through the installer, there will be a point where it will ask if you want to install or upgrade. Select Upgrade
  5. The installer will ask to set the root password

** It has been ages since I have done this.  I am almost positive that you can select upgrade and it will ask to set the root password **

The other option if you are ok with tinkering:

  1. Download a trial version of vCenter and install it (you have 60 days free license)
  2. Add your host to vCenter
  3. Use Host Profiles to set a new root password and apply it to the host (no reboot is needed and this is 100% supported) - I have done this more times that I can count.

 

 

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nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi, thanks for the reply.

I've tried looking for a version of Vcenter to download, but I'm just going round in circles.

So I'm back to trying the re-install (upgrade). I can't work out to boot from the ISO to start the process. I've got the image in a folder on my HDD, that's where I installed it from in the first place. I  just can see away to force a re-install.

 

Thanks, Nick.

 

 

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muakhtar
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi,

Kindly check the below article

https://www.ubackup.com/enterprise-backup/reset-vmware-root-password.html

Munib Akhtar
VCP-DCV/VCP-DTM/VXRAIL
Please mark help full or correct if my answer is use full for you
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maksym007
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Lets imagine that you installed temp_vCenter. 

But how you will add that ESXi to vCenter - when you will adding him to vCenter there will be a pop-up to provide username and password which you forgot. 

ESXi Host profile can be edit only when ESXi already in vCenter inventory. 

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pmichelli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Ah yes good point. I forgot you need the root password to add it to vCenter.

Nick :

What type of server do you have ?

If you have HPE, you can use the iLO to mount the ISO and boot from the virtual console

If you have Dell, you can use iDrac to do the same thing

Or if the server has a CDROM, burn the ISO and boot from it

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nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi, I have a very small set up. It's on a laptop, I've created a training lab. I'm running VM Workstation 16 Pro, and in there is a VM running  ESXi 7.0.3.

 

Thanks, Nick.

 

 

 

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pmichelli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hi Nick

Mount the ISO inside VMware workstation and there should be a way to force it to boot into the BIOS at next boot

Change the boot order to boot off the virtual DVD and you should be good

Another consideration, since this is a test lab you are using to learn ESXi.  Why not just blow that whole VM away and start clean? It's a good learning experience as well.

nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi,

Thanks for your post. Unfortunately, my lab was intended to support some Cisco firewall training I'm doing, and has several devices in it which I want to keep if at all possible.

I found out that if I power off my VM, rather than shutting it down, it unlocks the option under Power to "power on to firmware". From here I was able to change the boot option to "boot from virtual IDE CR-ROM/DVD.....". Next, I selected to upgrade my VM with the same OS - ESXi 7.0.3. I really thought I was winning until the next pop window which had the following message;

Upgrade failed:  Live VIB installation, upgrade or removal may cause subsequent ESXi to fail when using the ISO installer.

Please perform the upgrade with an alternative method, such as esxicli or vSphere LIfecycle Manager.

 

Any ideas where I go from here please? Have missed something that I should have done? I'll research the other methods listed, but neither have appeared in any of the searches I've done so far for resetting the root password.

Thanks, Nick.

 

 

 

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pmichelli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Hello Nick.

Please look at the build number of your current ESXi . Example : Hypervisor: VMware ESXi, 7.0.2, 19290878

Make sure the ISO you are using to try and repair the root password is the exact same version or higher.  If you are using a lower build, it certainly will not work.  

Can you confirm the builds for us? What is installed vs what is the ISO ?

nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi, my ISO and ESXi VM are both the same version: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U3c-19193900.x86_64.iso and

nickat1_0-1665657491424.png

Thanks, Nick.

 

 

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pmichelli
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I have never seen that before, and it looks like it is new to 7.0 U3.  I feel you're quickly running out of options here, since the workaround to that problem requires you either know the root password to use esxcli commands or you have vCenter with Lifecycle Management.

The only other thing I can suggest is maybe download the latest build. You have u3c, pretty sure f or g is available now, then try to upgrade and see what happens.

If that doesn't work, I am afraid you're likely stuck and need to start over again

nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi, thanks for your reply.

I've downloaded ESXi 8, that's the only option offered. There's an issue with licensing it. On the download page under the heading licensing information, it just has a message: Unable to process your request. Please try again later.        It's been displaying that all day. I don't know if that is going to cause a problem. I'm trying to use a free licence, which also means none of the vSphere options are open to me.  I've opened a support case, just waiting on a reply.

Thanks, Nick.

 

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nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

This is getting even more confusing.  The upgrade option fails trying to use the same version of ESXi (7.0.3) that's already loaded, but also I can't see a way to tell it to use the later ESXi 8 ISO that's in the same directory.  When the VM is up and running, I can enter the settings for the Virtual CD and change the ISO image from 7.0.3 to 8, but I'm worried if I tried that it would just brick the VM.

There is an option to "install" without overwriting the VMFS, but again that is locked to 7.0.3, but I haven't been brave enough to try it. It did ask for a new root password, so if it really does leave the VMFS intact then that would do the job.

Having downloaded the ESXi 8 it would seem logical to upgrade to that, but I just can't see how to do it.

Regards, Nick.

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nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Hi, I tried the "install - keep current VMFS" and it allowed me to create a new root password, but also blew away all of vm's. I've restored from a Snapshot, but that has also reinstated the old root password that I don't know. I'm at a loss now as to what to try next.

 

Nick.

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Ajay1988
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

You should see install ESXi and preserver VMFS. Use that and install ESXi. You should get the ESXi configuration set again if Datastores are FC/iSCSi .If local ; then fine. Once your Datastores are seen; just browse and you should see all the VM files there...Just register the Vms back. 

If you think your queries have been answered
Mark this response as "Correct" or "Helpful".

Regards,
AJ
nickat1
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks AJ. I have new root password and I've kept all of VM's. I need rebuild my networks and port groups etc, but that's fine.