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I have a Lenovo ThinkPad X41 and I installed Debian 8 three years ago. Since I haven't used it lately, I forgot the password of my user account. Is there any way to recover it? I've tried to log in as root from tty but it doesn't work (I guess that's because root account is disabled by default). I've also tried to reach the GRUB Menu options , but I'm not sure what key combination I have to press because it always reaches the Debian login screen. Thanks in advance!

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  • Root login shouldn't be disabled by default in debian 8 unless I missed something. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:13

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Press the shift key - or any other key that isn't the space bar, enter, or right arrow key, but I prefer shift or alt because they don't usually constitute an actual key command by themselves - in order to halt the automatic countdown during the grub menu.

Then you can select 'advanced startup options' which is a sub-menu that lets you start in rescue mode.

If you still have the root password, that should let you log into a rescue shell as root, at which point you can use passwd username to change your regular user's password.

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  • Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, i've tried pressing Shift key, but it does not work at all. I power on the laptop, there's some IBM stuff that's being displayed, and then it says "Grub Loading", and right after that it just starts loading up Debian. I keep pressing Shift, but grub doesn't really care. :(
    – hkr3
    Oct 20, 2020 at 10:29
  • That is not the default debian 8 setup, then -- the default debian GRUB setup includes a startup window with a five second delay before the default kicks in. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:31
  • I think I might have changed the GRUB_TIMEOUT=0 , so that it boots automatically to Debian and skips the selection window.
    – hkr3
    Oct 20, 2020 at 10:38
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    .. And change the GRUB_TIMEOUT back to 5 while you're at it. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:41
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    Yeah, you're right, that was a terrible idea. I guess i'll have to try the hard way . Thanks a lot for your help!
    – hkr3
    Oct 20, 2020 at 10:42

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