Can I reset root password?


Could you help me to reset my root password?
After upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04 I lost my previous ability to delete my files. Now my laptop is full and I can not remove anything and install updates or whatever.
I am set as administrator and with dmin rights, but when I go to any file and try to deley shows me im not the owner ad have no premission. The shown user is like 1001 who is also me. Dont have connection with the person who made the first laptop installation and who probably set himselves as root. I even remember any pass , but dont see any option to enter it as root for that user, because it doesnt appears on the screen.
If you have any suggestions how could I deal with the situation, please, let me know.

Thank you!

I would save what I want to keep on an external HDD. Then clean install a new OS, and create new password. That would mean you only have what you want, so memory is cleaned.
What do more knowledgeable folk think


There is only 1 root and it has always the uid of 0. So it’s normal you can’t delete everything.

Someone processed an installation for you, but let them stay root without telling you? If you ask me, this does not make any sense.

Itn ever appears, else everyone could see the password you type.

Are you sure this is your laptop and not somebody else’s?

In Ubuntu you don’t log in as root for doing administrative tasks.
Instead, you execute commands as root (super user) with the sudo command (always asking you to enter the proper password), but I assume you have been doing this all the time for installing software and updating.

You being unable to do so now, may possibly be the result of a completely full hard disk. Have you tried to delete the files in /tmp?. You might want to try sudo rm -rf /tmp/* and possibly sudo rm -rf /var/log/* and then reboot.

Anyway, as long as you have the administrative password, you can change it with sudo passwd root.

Most likely the problem is that your HD is full and there is no room to delete stuff.
backup what you want and do a reinstall of the system.
You can try this in a terminal
sudo journalctl --vacuum-time=3d
and sudo find /tmp -type f -delete
the first one will erase systemd journals and the second will delete tmp files that should give you enough room to clean the rest of the system.
but you will still need your usr password to do it. If you do not have that password you will need to reinstall.

Hmm, do this and let me know whether it worked.
Prepare a live-usb of any distro, or even Ubuntu 18.04; use it to delete files in your Hard disk. Most probably the files should be filling up your home folder.
So, navigate to your hard disk, then /home/username and you’ll get the folder which contains Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc… There you can delete files and free up space.

Please do reply me if it worked.

Its my Laptop. One ex employee made the installations. Im not familiar in the technical stuff, just like to use LInux. Didnt had problems with the upgrades for years and many of them made alone. The mess happend when my husband made the last upgrade. He doent use LInux, and just followed the steps upgrading by memory stick with iso file.
<he has no idea how it happend, me either.

Men and technology … :wink:

But: can you access a terminal or boot into the command line mode?

Thank you, Mina!

I have been making upgrades and operate as asministrator before without need to use root, just when saw I cant delete files and im not owner of my files decided could be done as root.
Ill try your ideafor deleting, but where should I do it- in console or GRUB?

I can access the terminal and to boot.

Thank you!
I have user password. The only user is me. Just im not able to delete after the upgrade.
Maybe the reason is really the full HD

Thank you.

Im not sure how exactly to do it, but if im not able to delete files directly by suggested commands above, will try and your way.

You’re not technically strong, right? Then follow method. Do not mistake me; I’m telling this since you’re not technically strong.

Check itsfoss articles on tutorials telling how to create a live USB. They might be helpful.

Yes, Im not technically strong :} Thank you for your suggestion!

Akito’s advice is the best. Copy what you want to keep to an external drive or DVD and flush the computer. Do a clean install, set the passwords as you like, and make regular exports of valuable data to an external drive.


IF you can use sudo in the terminal, then to change the root password try this command:

sudo passwd

This works in OpenSuSE Leap & Tumbleweed

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I have made live usb, and tried to delete from the hd,but nothin worked, or I do not make it right.
I opend the hd as normally, or should I do it in any way through the live usb?
Sorry for the silly question, but really have no idea how is the right :slight_smile:

How can I flush the laptop? <i never did it alone until now. Dont know and how to make GRUB.
Will I have premission to do it when couldnt delete the documents?

Can I try that commands before reinstall or could lode the data I didnt transfer yet?

Your question isn’t silly. Not a problem.

Yeah, that’s the method, open the hard disk via the file manager, and navigate to your home folder. I deleted my unnecessary files like this. It should work for you.

I need a screenshot of what happens when you try to delete a file via the live USB, please…

Thank you.