How to Change Root Password in Ubuntu Linux

For those familiar with the expansive world of Linux, the significance of Ubuntu Linux hardly needs an introduction. Admired for its robust security mechanisms, Ubuntu stands out in the Linux family. Central to these security features is the often-discussed root password. Acting as the cornerstone of Ubuntu’s defenses, it prevents unwarranted system access. Delving into the depths of Ubuntu’s user roles, this guide comprehensively explores how to change the root password adeptly.

Types of Users in Linux

Root User

The root user wields the most substantial power of all the Linux user types. This omnipotent entity has unrestricted access to every nook and cranny of the system. Yet, with great power comes great responsibility. Though indispensable for high-level tasks, using this account judiciously is vital. Interestingly, Ubuntu Linux, by default, keeps the root account under wraps, guiding users towards the sudo command for tasks demanding elevated privileges.

Sudo User

As a bridge between the root and standard users, the sudo user occupies a unique position. Though not as powerful as the root, sudo users aren’t confined by the limitations that bind standard users. By inputting their unique password, they can execute specific commands, momentarily stepping into the shoes of an administrator. This balance ensures they can achieve tasks beyond the reach of standard users without jeopardizing system integrity.

Normal User

Designed for everyday tasks, the normal user role serves the masses. Bound by a defined permission set, they’re confined to a sandboxed environment, ensuring their actions don’t inadvertently alter the broader system landscape.

Detailed Steps to Change Root Password in Ubuntu

Open the Terminal

Every endeavor starts with the first step; in this case, it’s launching the Terminal. There are two paths to this: either the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T or manually searching and selecting ‘Terminal’ from the application menu.

Access Root

Now, to commence the pivotal task, we need to shift our role to the root user. This can be achieved by the simple command:


Once prompted, key in the current root password, allowing you to step into the privileged realm of the root user.

Change Password

Having accessed the root domain, the next move is to usher in the change. Type in the passwd command, and the Terminal, like a trusted confidante, will prompt you to articulate your new password choice. You’ll be asked to repeat your new password to ensure no errors.


A confirmation message will greet you, signifying a successful password transition.

Exit Root

Remaining in the root domain can be a precarious choice. It’s akin to leaving the keys in an unlocked car. Hence, it’s prudent to exit this space post-haste. Just type:


For the skeptics, a revisit to the root user domain using su and the new password will confirm the success of your endeavor. Ensure you promptly exit to maintain security.

How User Roles Influence Password Management in Linux

Changing the Sudo User Password by Root

The root user holds the highest authority within the Linux system, akin to an administrator. This means the root can change the password of any user, including that of the sudo user. To do so, the passwd command followed by the sudo user’s name is used. For example, to change the password for a user named “Jane”, you would use:

passwd Jane

Limitations Faced by Normal Users

Normal users, despite having certain permissions, can’t change the root password. This design ensures the overall security of the system, preventing unauthorized access and changes. Think of it as a regular staff member not having the authority to access the company’s most confidential files without the necessary clearance.

Sudo Users Changing the Root Password

Sudo users, while not having the full privileges of the root user, still hold significant administrative power. They have the ability to change the root password using a specific command:

sudo passwd root

After executing this command, it’s good practice to verify the change by logging into the root user with the new password.

Concluding Thoughts

The intricacies of Ubuntu Linux, with its layered user roles, aren’t just a testament to its comprehensive design but also a bulwark of its security protocols. As the age-old saying goes, knowledge is power. Being acquainted with the processes and interplay of user roles, especially concerning password management, equips one to maintain the fortress that is Ubuntu. And, as a best practice, regularly refreshing the root password isn’t just a checkbox but a commitment to security.

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