I am asked for a password when I want to reset the date and time or any other basic system administration. I have never used a password since Ubuntu was installed. How do I overcome this?

Asked by Norman Macdonald

Since having Ubuntu installed, I have never set a password. This may have been done by the installer but I have no knowledge of it. When I try to do any simple administrative operation such as reset the time and date, I am blocked. I am also unable to download Adobe Flash Player which prevents me from viewing video. These problems may not be directly related but are very frustrating.

Question information

English Edit question
Ubuntu shadow Edit question
No assignee Edit question
Last query:
Last reply:
Revision history for this message
actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

Changing the date and time is an admin operation. You don't want standard users messing with the time and such as cookies will fail and so forth.

Can you give the output of:

lsb_release -a; uname -a; dpkg -l | egrep 'flash|gnash|swf|spark'


Revision history for this message
Warren Hill (warren-hill) said :

Passwords are important and you should have passwords on any account that can change anything. I recommend all accounts have passwords even if they can't change anything. I once had an expensive problem on a Windows PC because the user momentarily changed the date; to see what day of the week a particular date would be. Some time locked software decided the licence period had run out and I had to get a support engineer out to reset it.

If you don't know the password it can be reset however.

First find out your user name. If you don't know already open a terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and enter


Next reset the password

There are a few methods (mostly similar) take a look at these





If this does not work then open a terminal and give us the output of


Revision history for this message
Norman Macdonald (saltirenmb) said :

The suggested operations do not allow me the necessary access. I suspect the system is encrypted as indicated in one of the helpful suggestions. Many thanks

Can you help with this problem?

Provide an answer of your own, or ask Norman Macdonald for more information if necessary.

To post a message you must log in.