Through this page we will try to answer some of the most common questions we get asked either through comment boxes or e-mail.

1) I’ve downloaded an Ubuntu [xx.yy] codename “[abcdefghhijk]” image. I need the ‘root’ password to administrate my system. Where is it/why don’t you provide it?

In short: you are not supposed to actually login with user root credentials in any given moment. In Ubuntu (and several other distributions) you are supposed to use one or more unprivileged accounts all the time, and get the required priviliges through sudo when you need that. If you insist on setting a root password, you can do it anyway:

        1. Open a terminal emulator
        2. Type sudo passwd root, then press Return.

Note that this only allows user escalation through the su command and text logins (from a real or virtual terminal). If you wish, you can even allow root graphical logins: you are invited to search through Google “root login [your login manager: for example, gdm in GNOME, kdm in KDE]” to see how it can be done.

2) The password for user [USERNAME] for the [DISTRIBUTION] Linux image is wrong? What is the correct password for [USERNAME]?

As far as we can do, we try to ensure to supply correct username/password couples are provided. It might happen – and it will happen, especially if we continue adding user-provided images that we cannot test thoroughly – that this is not the case. Often, we cannot re-download the images, change the passwords and reupload them as it becomes extremely costly and time-demanding for us.

Here is how you can nevertheless get access to the image (we will be adding more tips)

  • If the bootloader for the image is GRUB (you may spot a *GNU GRUB* line while booting)

a) Press E.

b) A line editor opens: press the right arrow (or the END key if it works), then add ” single” (without the quotes, and with the trailing space), then press ENTER.

c) Press B.

The Linux system will boot in single-user mode: what matters to you is that you can issue this command

passwd [USERNAME]

and change the relevant password without being asked for the current one (yes, it works also with the root user). Be sure  to enter it twice correctly.

d) Type reboot, and then press ENTER.

The system will restart. You should be able to access it correctly after the next boot.

3) Your Ubuntu image has the Italian keyboard layout? How do I fix that?

Open a Terminal window, then type

sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

and press ENTER. Choose the keyboard layout you prefer from the ones listed there.



53 Responses to FAQ

  1. I’ve just downloaded the Kubuntu image to try ‘Umbrello UML’. I need to install it and the method you describe here doesn’t work. I just don’t understand why you think people interested in playing with distro don’t need root access.

    • There are several different ways in which the “principle of minimum privilege” can be enforced, and I think that defaulting to sudo might be a good way. In this page I am not defending my position or everyone else’s but just stating what is the default practice in Ubuntu (and we actually don’t change default practice unless there is a specific need not addressable in any other way).

      Anyway, if you give some more details on what of the steps to set a root password in Ubuntu stated here do not work I can try to help you

  2. What I’m saying is that you should provide the password of an administrator user, best if it’s the root, cause in a few occasions this is the only one that works. How much self-damage I can do with it, should be a concern for myself only, shouldn’t? 🙂

    Anyway, I’ve done as you explain:

    – From the user that starts as default, open a terminal
    – sudo passwd root

    Then it asks me a password that I don’t know. I’ve also tried su – root with similar results.
    Thanks for the help

    • As a matter of fact, as I said earlier, we won’t provide a root password for Ubuntu images (and for those other distribution that decide not to set a root password by default) because one of the aim of the project for vanilla images is to be “vanilla” even in what can possibly be considered a defect or even bother users: many will not complain about not having a root password, and others will. If this is the case (and you may be right as there is no definitive truth in matter like these) maybe Ubuntu would not be a right choice for you if you were using it as a OS in your machine. Anyway, this is not the time to get into philosophy…

      When you actually run sudo passwd root you should get more or less this:

      [sudo] password for ubuntu: [type reverse and press ENTER]
      Enter new UNIX password: [there you go]

      Have I understood correctly that this is not actually happening?

  3. No problem, I’m happy everything works at last

  4. How do I get [my favorite distro] built by you guys and posted here so I can publicize it more?

  5. ezh1k says:

    I downloaded ubuntu_9.04_amd64.7z What is username and password for system? There is no hints or default login 😦

  6. Leif says:

    I downloaded and opened the “Fedora 16 i686” from [https://virtualboxes.org/images/fedora/]. After booting the VM on Oracle Virtualbox, I’m required to log in. There seems to be a user already called “fedora” and I don’t know how to log in or how to open a terminal. (I’m quite new on Linux and entirely new on Fedora). Above the user name it says “fedora16” which changes into “fedora release 16 (Verne)” when clicked.

    When I press enter, leaving the password field blank, a message appears: “Authentication failure”.

    What do I do wrong? How can I login or create a new user without knowing the password?

  7. Nick says:

    Sad… The images are great. But could you set US as default keyboard layout?


  8. Yes, sure. You will reconfigure “console-setup”

    $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup


  9. Neve Shute says:

    Change keyboard CLI way:

    setxkbmap us
    setxkbmap fr
    setxkbmap de

    Suggest you put the password on the SourceForge description.

    Thanks, very useful,

  10. Nicke F says:

    I f-cked up my ‘ubuntu’ user using ‘sudo usermod’. Now user ubuntu can’t sudo anymore. How to recover from such a grand mistake? A root password could help here…

  11. Andrew says:

    I have downloaded debian image to try (Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.6 alias squeeze). What is the valid password for root? Info there (Active user account(s) (username/password): root/toor, debian/reverse) is incorrect.

  12. cual es la contra del fedora porfavor no se como hago

  13. Lee Scratchwood says:

    what ist the username/password of the freebsd image?

  14. Tudor says:

    I downloaded CentOS 6.0 base x86_64, however the user name and password provided on the download page (u: root, p: reverse) do not work. I also tried other user/password combinations on that page, and none work.
    Can anyone help? Thanks!

  15. Tudor says:

    One more thing Antonio, do you know where we can get a GUI (i.e. not just text-only) version of CentOS that can be used in Virtualbox? Thanks!

  16. tim says:

    I downloaded the cent os base
    The keyoard layout is not english default. it is difficult to don anything reasonable.
    Kindly let me know how to change it to US default

  17. Keith Edwards says:

    Hi,I’ve installed the Opensolaris VM. The ‘opens’ login works OK but when I tried to be the root user using ‘sudo su’, none of these usual passwords work: opensolaris toor reverse. What is the password for root user?

  18. Magnificent web site. A lot of helpful info here. I’m sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your effort!

  19. gregcollins says:

    I’ve downloaded Ubuntu Linux 12.04 x86 and i got the ISO for the OS from the Ubuntu site. But there looks to be a difference. The Ubuntu site downloads 12.04.2,

    When I open my VM it asks if i want to install along side. That wasn’t what i expected, it feels like i have a miss matching VM and OS.

    Is that likely?

    • I haven’t ever updated an Ubuntu install; anyway it’s extremely likely that our image is older. Either way, if your 12.04 image is fully updated, it is identical to an out-of-the-box 12.04.2

  20. David says:


    I downloaded CentOS 5.3, however the user name and password provided on the download page (root/roottoor, centos/reverse) do not work. I also tried other user/password combinations on that page, and none work.

    Can anyone help? Thanks!

    • Hi David,
      I download again the CentOS image and verified both users.
      All user/password combinations are correct:
      root / roottoor
      centos / reverse
      Please check the md5sum of the image and test again.

      b6c2f4e7234b1b0f99a40dec54931223 centos-5.3-x86.7z


  21. Colin says:


    all Archlinux images are pretty old. I’d like to submit a more recent. Is there a way to contribute ?


  22. azakan says:

    Hi, I’ve downloaded Fedora 15 image and combination root/reverse does not work. What can I do to get root access?

  23. @Luciano Ferrari
    Yes we are alive 🙂
    Our team working on some distributions, last image (Archlinux 2014.09) is published on december 2014.

  24. Giovanni Ulivi says:

    I downloaded Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.6 alias squeeze. While the user/pwd combination debian/reverse works, the root/toor does not. Do you know what the password for root is?
    Thank you

  25. khyati says:

    I am not able to type password for centos-5.11 using virtualbox 4.3. During localhost login, keyboard works but when prompt for a password,keyboard doesnot respond. what to do??

  26. Kevin says:

    Hi, I just downloaded a Fedora image and it works.

    I then downloaded a CentOS 6.3 x86 but that isnt found by my Virtual Box Manager. I dont know what the problem is, permissions and ownership are the same as for the Fedora machine.

    It worked ok with Fedora, I can’t understand why the CentOS machine does not appear.

    Any ideas?

    • Kevin says:

      UPDATE re CentOS VM Image:

      I tried clicking on the CentOS .vbox file in my Ubuntu File Explorer. This started the Oracle VM Manager Interface with the CentOS machine appearing in the list of machines on the left.I was then able to start the VM ok.

      It’s probably possible to carry out this manoevre to the same effect with the command line vboxmanage tool but I don’t know the commands required. At any rate clicking on the .vbox file for the first launching did the trick.

  27. Kevin says:

    Just want to also say thanks for providing these images, they save us a lot of time!

  28. Ali says:

    I downloaded and mounted the Ubuntu Linux 15.04 from the torrent link provided officially. In order mount the share folder between host and Virtual Box, I need root password. I tried everything but in vain.
    e.g. After opening the terminal I wrote “sudo password root” and then press enter. Terminal asks for the password I wrote “reverse” but in vain.
    Would you please provide the root password.


  29. gnan says:


    I downloaded the debian-5.0-x86.7z. And created a VM with virtualbox on it. However when I started the VM, and just saw a terminal without desktop. And I checked the /bin. I found that it contained just a few commands.

    What do I need to do to enable a full version?


  30. A. Naser says:

    I am a new user. I like to know which Torrent client are you using for your Torrent images and where to download it from. Many thanks in advance for your guidance.

  31. Bill says:

    I have tried to download the last 2 Ubuntu files (“13.04 x86” & “15.04 x86_64”). Both of these say “Link: Torrent”. But if I click the Torrent link, it opens up another window that says “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it.” I tried to download the torrent file itself and manually launch it into BitTorrent, but the download fails with a status of “Failed – Forbidden”. If I click the “More information” link for the download, it says “This error means you don’t have permission to download this file from the server.”

    Is this problem on my side, or yours?

  32. JW Smythe says:

    I noticed the Slackware images are severely lacking. I saw the previous comment about providing new images for Archlinux. I would like to do the same for Slackware. I’d happily make images for all the (relatively) recent versions.

    Do you have guidelines for how you want the images created? Like OS CPU type (x86 or x86_64), disk space, disk type, packages, updates (only from disk, or complete upgrade to today), etc.

    It seems others, like CentOS, aren’t current either, and the Amazon torrent links are broken. I wouldn’t mind helping out to make images for some of them. Doing all of them would be a bit too much. Or is this an abandon project?

    • Hi JW Smythe.
      The project definitely need some love. Having transitioned to a full-time job leaves me with very little time to do anything. In fact, I migrated the current files to a better server and had not time to actually finish it. So you have the half-assed broken download link.
      I am alone as of yet (AFAIK the other collaborators are not able to help any more) but if you wish to help we can try to bring this project back from pasture.
      I will be contacting you in private.

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