Can't log in as root on new 7.0 install

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Mon Apr 14 17:18:15 UTC 2008

On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 10:35:03AM -0400, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:

> I've recently installed FreeBSD 7.0 on a new server. I seem to
> be unable to log in as root in any way, and I'm not sure why.
> Furthermore I'm now physically separate from the machine, and
> have been relying on a (non-computer-literate) colleague with
> access to its console server to try and help.
> After the initial install I (am pretty sure I) was able to log
> in as root over ssh. However, after a week when the machine
> was inaccessible for other reasons, I cannot log in as root,
> only as a normal user.
> I thought that I had perhaps mis-remembered the root password,
> so I directed the colleague to log in in single user mode and
> reset the root password; she was able to do this, and typed
> "exit" to return the system to multi-user mode and herself at
> a root prompt. However I was still not able to log in as root,
> either over ssh, or by logging in as a normal user and then
> typing "login root" (i.e. it wasn't just something preventing
> root logins over ssh).
> I then asked the colleague to add me to the "wheel" group,
> which she successfully did; I logged out and back in again,
> determined that I was indeed in this group, and tried to "su -" 
> and got a "su: Sorry" message, with the colleague reporting
> that a "BAD SU [user] to root on /dev/ttyp0" message had
> appeared.
> I'm sort of at a loss for what to do or why this is happening,
> and am quite eager to control my own machine....Suggestions
> welcome.

Well, the two things I would guess are:  there is a syntax error
in adding your regular id to the wheel group and you are typing
in the root password incorrectly.

I've never had it fail when I remembered to add my id to wheel
and got the root password right.

Can your colleague log in with her id and then su to root?

I have never used su with the '-' on it, but I presume that
should be no problem.


> Thanks very much.
> Jesse Sheidlower
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