New Years Day tinkering…

So, I woke up quite early without a hangover and I was thinking about plans for an old desktop that has been sitting dormant under my desk for years. I’d last used it as a backup and Boinc server. I plan to use it as an FTP & SAMBA server.

Once I’d found a keyboard and mouse I fired it up. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember any of the passwords… Booting it up with a live USB wouldn’t let me access the hard drive – when I tried to access it it requested an administrator password.

So, I had to boot into single user mode and change the root password (I changed the user password at the same time):

There weren’t any clear, step-by-step, instructions on the web for doing this on Fedora 15 so here’s how I did it:

  1. Power on the machine and once the BIOS check has finished hit the ESC key to enter the Linux boot loader (GRUB) configuration.
  2. Select the linux (linuz?) line, go to the end, and type ‘single’ (without the quotes).
  3. Hit Enter to save then ‘b’ to boot.
  4. The machine should go through some checks and then bring you to the root (#) command line.
  5. Remount the root directory:  # mount -oremount,rw /
  6. Change root: # chroot /
  7. Change the passwords:  # passwd <user>
  8. I’m not sure if this system even has SELinux let alone enabled but I created an autorelabel file anyway – if you’re on a system with SELinux enabled the passwd files you’ve changed will have the wrong security context and your password changes won’t work:  # touch /.autorelabel
  9. Then type exit chroot jail and exit again to reboot.  You should be able to login using your new passwords.

I find it quite scary how easy it is to access someones data if you have physical access to their machine… be warned! In this case I’m glad I wasn’t using hard drive encryption or my data would’ve been lost forever without the passwords.

It’s amazing how different Fedora 15 looks (GNOME really) from 21 but is still the same to navigate…  Anyway I’m now backing-up the backup (stuff I probably have elsewhere but it’s better to be safe than sorry) and it’s painfully slow across USB.  It’s done 34GB out of 101GB’s at 6.6MB/s … it’s going to take at least another 2 hours so I’m going to check out the New Year sales and get myself a new monitor, because I just want one, and an Ethernet hub because I’ve run out of ports…

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