How to Recover vCenter Password and ESXi Root Password

Have you ever lost the password of your account by accident? How can you recover vCenter password if you accidentally lose it? This article will show you the detailed steps to recover vCenter root password and ESXi root password.


By Crystal / Updated on November 16, 2022

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Case: How to recover vCenter password?


I accidentally filled in the wrong password during the vCenter upgrade and ended up unable to access VAMI. What should I do? How to recover vCenter password? Is there a way to break into my system and reset the root password, or do I need to remove the VCSA and download the latest one to add it to my ESXi?

- Question from

We all have been there before, accidentally forgot the password to the account, or just set the wrong password from the beginning. Fortunately, there are always ways to help us recover or reset our password.

VMware vCenter Server and ESXi accounts are no exception. If you lose the root password of your vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), you will not be able to log in this appliance. If you lose your ESXi root password, then you will lose control over your hosts.

vCenter Server Appliance

Next, this article will show you the steps of how to recover vCenter root password and recover ESXi root password from vCenter Server.

How to recover vCenter password of 6.7, 7.0 and above versions

When you deploy the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), the initial password of the root user expires after 90 days by default. You can change the password expiration settings from the VCSA Management Interface. However, it is often overlooked until it is too late.

If your vCenter root password expired, you need to reset vCenter root password and edit the password expiration policy settings to avoid it expiring again. Take vCenter Server 6.7 as an example, you can reset vCenter root password by the following steps.

▶ Steps to reset vCenter 6.7 root password

1. Take a snapshot of the VM and proceed with forcing a reboot.

2. Once the photon OS splash screen is showing, quickly press “e” to reveal the Grub boot menu. Then on the GNU GRUB menu, type rw init=/bin/bash after $systemd_cmdline.


3. Press F10 to boot.

4. This will now boot vCenter server appliance into root shell directly. To reset the password, you can enter the following command and provide a new root password (twice for confirmation).


5. Unmount the filesystem by running the unmount command umount - it's not a spelling error:

umount /

6. Reboot the vCenter Server Appliance by running the command:

eboot -fr

Note: While resetting root password, make sure you are not using dictionary word for password or you may end up into failed message - passwd: Authentication token manipulation error with password unchanged.


7. Access the vCenter Server Appliance using the new root password. If connection is successful, you can delete snapshot from VM.

Tip: You could set the Root password to never expire in order to prevent this issue by running the command:
# chage -I -1 -m 0 -M 99999 -E -1 root
or at the VAMI (https://:5480).

▶ Steps to reset vCenter 7.0 root password

If you are using vCenter version 6.7U3j or 7 U1 and above, there is a quick way to reset vCenter root password without downtime using VAMI portal.

1. Open vCenter VAMI portal with 5480 port. Use your SSO admin or [email protected] username and password to login.


2. Click on the Actions on the menu, from dropdown list choose Change Root Password. If you finish resetting vCenter root password, click Save.


How to recover ESXi root password from vCenter

The above are the steps to recover vCenter password. But if it’s the ESXi host root password that you accidentally forget, things will get trickier than in vCenter.

VMware does not want us to modify the files on ESXi installations. If you use VMware vSphere Enterprise license, there is a way you can edit Host Profiles to reset ESXi root password.

However, if you use other licenses, according to VMware, the only supported way to reset a password on ESXi is to reinstall the ESXi host. In this way you can preserve your local datastore, but you will also lose all other configuration settings, such as networking, storage, etc.

▶ Steps to reset ESXi root password via Host Profiles

1. Login to your vCenter Server the vSphere web client. Click Host profiles on the home page, and then click the plus sign + to extract profile from a host…

Extract profile from a host

2. Follow the Extract Host Profile wizard. Select the ESXi host from which you want to extract all the settings from, and provide Name and Description to identify.

Select the ESXi host

3. Select the host profile, right-click on it and select Edit Settings…

Edit settings

4. Search Root in the search box and select it. Select Fixed Password Configuration option and provide the password you want to use later. Click Finish to save.

Fixed Password Configuration

5. Select the host profile and click Attach/Detach Hosts and Clusters button to apply this host profile to ESXi hosts and reset the root password.

Attach host and clusters

6. Select the host profile and click the compliance check button to check the Host Profile compliance. The Compliance tab will display the host compliance with the attached host profile.

Check host profile compliance

If one of the host alerts Not Compliant and displays Description as Password in profile does not match that on host for root, you can click the Tools button to Remediate the host.


Batch backup VMs managed by vCenter to protect the data

To avoid losing the password to your accounts, you may have it recorded. And to avoid losing data on VMs managed by vCenter, you will also need to make backups just in case. However, vCenter Server does not provide the feature of virtual machine backup. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice.

Here I introduce you to a VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Multiple VM Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to a local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, or monthly.
Restore Entire VM: restore instant available VMs from any selected restore points to an original or new location.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server with AOMEI Cyber Backup in 4 simple steps. You can click the following button to download the 30-day free trial.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

4 Steps to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > VMware > + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type.

vmware esxi backup

3. Set Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule, and Cleanup as needed.

  • Task Name: you can change the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.
  • Device: batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.
  • Schedule (optional): perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.

schedule vm backups

  • Cleanup (optional): automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

auto backup cleanup

4. Run Backup: Click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start Backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing.

When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

restore vm


Everyone forgets the password to their account by accident. If your vCenter root password expired or you just lose it, this article shows how to recover vCenter password step by step. In addition, this article also covers a way to recover ESXi root password from vCenter.

vCenter Server is a very convenient official platform for centrally managing ESXi virtual environments and large numbers of VMs on it. However, since it doesn’t have the VM backup feature, you still need a third-party tool to backup VMware ESXi VMs. In this regard, you can try AOMEI Cyber Backup, a efficient software that allows you to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.