AIX 2.1 root passwords (IBM RT)

Jules Richardson julesrichardsonuk at
Sat Jul 21 18:33:17 CDT 2007

Well our IBM RT / 5085 / CATIA setup all checks out and the hard disks seem 
good - it'll boot to a login prompt on the MDA console (and issue a message 
about the 5085 interconnect being happy)

Unfortunately we have no idea what the root password is :-( Tried the obvious 

Are there any kind of tricks in order to reset / break the root password under 
AIX 2.1? We seem to have a reasonable complement of AIX floppies - perhaps 
there's a way in there? Or maybe an insecure account which can be used to 
snarf the passwd file (did AIX use shadow passwords)? Or maybe a way of 
dropping to single user on the console without a login password? etc. etc.

Sadly the hard disks are ESDI - if they were SCSI it'd be trivial to stick 
them in a different machine and start hacking at the disk block level.

Last resort I suppose is to install a copy of the OS on another drive, then 
attach the current OS drive as a secondary, mount the relevant partition, and 
edit the 'current' password file. That's a lot of effort though, and I'm not 
sure what we have in the way of spare ESDI drives anyway. (I don't think we 
have full install media for additional things like CATIA, so reinstalling the 
OS over the top of the current data is something we'd like to avoid)



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