Lost ROOT Password - by Jodeman

I've been able to use the Irix CD to successfully get rid of the ROOT password.

  1. Insert the Irix CD into the CD-Rom drive.
  2. Pick "Install System Software" from the System Maintenance Menu.
  3. When you get to the "inst" menu.. the part where they list 1 (from) to 12 (Exit) options. Pick the "admin" option. Then choose the "shroot" option.

(NOTE: Irix 5.2 will only give options 1-11 where 11 is (Exit) but the procedure is the same.)

From there, you should be in a shell which should enable you to get rid of or type in a new password with the "passwd" command.

The following text is from the SGI FAQs:

Subject: -9- How can I get around the root and/or PROM passwords?

Date: 20 Apr 1996 00:00:01 EST To get around the root password, start 'inst' from an IRIX CD or tape as you would if you wanted to install software. (See chapter 3 of the Software Installation Administrator's Guide.) If you've set a PROM password, you'll need to provide it or circumvent it first; see below. Say 'admin shroot' to get a root shell. You can then do any of the following: - use 'passwd' to change root's password - 'setenv TERM iris-tp' and 'vi/etc/passwd' - if /etc/passwd is really hosed, 'mv' the remains out of the way and 'echo root::0:0:root:/:/bin/sh > /etc/passwd'. Alternatively, if your machine is an NIS client you can change the uid of an NIS account to 0 from the server and do a 'ypmake'. If you've lost your PROM password but can still log in as root, you can zero the PROM password with 'nvram passwd_key ""'. If not, you'll have to disable the PROM password via the hardware. On a 4D/35 or Crimson, find the battery which maintains the nvram ("non-volatile RAM") and remove it. On an Indigo or Indy, find the nvram chip itself and remove it. On an Indigo2, remove the jumper described in the owner's manual. This may be a good time to call SGI.

Jodeman NOTE: It's been brought to my attention from reliable online sources that it's not suggested to remove the NVRAM chip on an Indigo as it can ruin the system.

Alternative method:

Hypothetically, if you don't have an Irix CD-Rom..

If you also have a PROM password on that system:


Lost PROM/nvram Password - by Jodeman

When you first power up the system, you encounter this familiar graphic. Note that sometimes on older systems with lower CPUs running Irix 5.3 or earlier, youíll see the same thing but in plain text.

When you try to enter the Install System Software, Run Diagnostics & Enter Command Monitor options, there is a prompt to Enter Password.

To disable this password on Indy & Indigo2 systems, itís simply a matter of opening the cover, removing a jumper from the motherboard and then powering up the system again. The procedure is as follows:

  1. With the system powered off, remove top cover of the system.
  2. Find the black jumper on the motherboard and remove it.
    • On the Indy, the jumper is located next to the connectors where the power supply plugs into the motherboard.
    • On an Indigo2, the jumper is a little harder to get to. It is located on the motherboard underneath the 5.25" disk drive tray.
    • On an O2, itís a little bit different. Remove the jumper that is located under the CPU board next to the black chip & replace it onto the 2-pin jumper slot right next to the memory banks.
  3. Once the jumper is removed, power up the system and enter the System Maintenance menu again.
  4. When you try to enter the previously password-protected menu options, you should get this message: "Warning: Password jumper has been removed. Not enforcing PROM password"
  5. Now enter the Command Monitor and use the resetpw command to remove the password.
  6. Power off the system and put the jumper back onto the motherboard from where you removed it. The next time you start the system, the password should be gone.

    For removing the PROM password from an Indigo, Origin 200 or Crimson system, Iíll repeat what was copied from from the previous page about removing the ROOT password.

    If you've lost your PROM password but can still log in as root, you
    can zero the PROM password with 'nvram passwd_key ""'. If not, you'll
    have to disable the PROM password via the hardware. On a 4D/35 or
    Crimson, find the battery which maintains the nvram ("non-volatile
    RAM") and remove it.
  7. On a Personal Iris system, you have to open the right side panel. Holding the E-module (metal box containing the CPU & Graphics boards) in place is one screw accompanied with the little sign underneath saying "Unscrew to Remove". By removing the top screw, the E-module should be able to lean out. You will some cables plugged into the E-module. Remove the smallest 10-pin plug. This is the equivalent of removing the black jumper from the motherboard on the Indy and Indigo2. Once, the 10-pin plug is removed, power up the system and enter the Command Monitor. Use the resetpw command to remove the password. Once the password has been removed, power the system off and plug the 10-pin plug back into the E-module.

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