Reset the SYSTEM password on OpenVMS 8.4
Published: 03-02-2021 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article
❗ This post is over one year old. It may no longer be up to date. Opinions may have changed.
This short post shows you how to reset the SYSTEM account password on a single OpenVMS 8.4 ALpha machine via the serial console. You need physical access to the machine and the procedure looks a lot like linux and appending
init=/bin/bash to the GRUB commandline to boot into single user mode. It is tested on the AXPbox Alpha emulator, I forgot my password after not using it for a month.
I'm developing an open source monitoring app called Leaf Node Monitoring, for windows, linux & android. Go check it out!
Consider sponsoring me on Github. It means the world to me if you show your appreciation and you'll help pay the server costs.
You can also sponsor me by getting a Digital Ocean VPS. With this referral link you'll get $100 credit for 60 days.
This procedure was tested with the AXPbox Alpha emulator and VSI OpenVMS 8.4-1.
Boot into single user mode
Type following command in boot console to perform a conversational boot:
P00>>> boot dqa0 -flags 0,1
dqa0 by your boot device.
Enter the following commands in the next prompt to boot into single user mode:
SET/STARTUP OPA0: SET WINDOW_SYSTEM 0 SET WRITESYSPARAMS 0 CONTINUE
Type following DCL commands to reset the SYSTEM account password:
SPAWN @SYS$SYSTEM:STARTUP SET DEFAULT SYS$SYSTEM: RUN SYS$SYSTEM:AUTHORIZE MODIFY SYSTEM /PASSWORD=example
Exit out of
CTRL+Z and reboot the system (
REBOOT) and you should
be able to login with the newly reset password.
On Debian systems you can reset a root password by rebooting, appending
init=/bin/bash to the
linux line of GRUB (bootloader), remounting the disk
as read-write (
mount -o remount,rw) resetting the password (
exec /sbin/init 6). You need physical access as well and the
OpenVMS procedure is very similar, albeit with different commands.