Recovering the root password on a BeagleBone Black
I recently went to use a BeagleBone Black board on which I'd never booted from the eMMC before (that I could recall) and had been instead booting off of a microSD card. To the best of my knowledge, the root password on this board should never, ever have been changed from the default (blank password), but apparently it was. None of the passwords that I had ever used for any of my BeagleBone Blacks was working, which created a problem: I needed to recover the root password to this BeagleBone Black so that I could use it for my projects again. I was in luck. The BeagleBone Black has the tools that I needed to do it. I'm writing this blog post (like many other posts in the blog) so that I can have a reference to come back to if I ever need it in the future.
To recover the root password of a BeagleBone Black, you'll need the following items:
- A 5V, minimum 1 A dedicated power source (you shouldn't really be powering the board off of the micro USB port)
- An SD card (and reader, of course)
- An FTDI USB-to-serial cable for accessing the debug serial port of the BeagleBone Black.
- Flash the SD card with an image that you can obtain from BeagleBone.org/GettingStarted.
- Insert the SD card into the *unpowered* BeagleBone Black.
- Apply power.
- The BeagleBone Black should boot from the SD card (assuming that you've flashed the correct image)
- Connect the FTDI serial cable to the board and your compter, and open your serial client of choice to connect to the board.
- Hit enter once or twice, and a command prompt should come up, assuming you've used the correct settings:
- Log in using root and a blank password (should be the default on the SD card image that you downloaded from the BeagleBoard.org website.)
- Mount the eMMC flash: mount /dev/mmcblk1p2 /media/card
- Change the root of the file system to be the partition on the eMMC flash which you just mounted: chroot /media/card
- Change the password of the root user to something you know: passwd root
- Exit out of the changed root: exit
- Shutdown the BeagleBone Black : shutdown -h now
- Disconnect the power from the board
- Eject the microSD card.
- Reconnect the power to the board
- Watch the board boot up, and log in as root. You should be able to log in with the password that you just set.