SCO Unix, Xenix and ODT General FAQ
>How can I find out what a user's password is?
You can't, and you don't need to.
Have you lost or forgotten your Linux password? If so, this will help.. If it's not Linux, but some other Unix, the suggestions at Lost or Forgotten Root Password SCO Unix may help.
You can't because the password is not stored anywhere. What is
stored is a "hash" created by using the "crypt" function on the
password. You could use a password cracking program to find a
password that would work, but that is not necessarily the same
password the user was using; it's just a word that hashes the same
You don't need to because as root, you can login as that user
without knowing their password. For example, say you need to login
as "jim" but don't know the password. Just type:
su - jim
And, of course, you can always change the user's passwd
By the way, programs like "crack" or John the Ripper can't help you get a password
for root if you've lost it- ordinarily, all encrypted passwords are
stored in /etc/shadow- and that is NOT readable by an ordinary
user. Typically, these programs guess passwords, but don't actually
attempt to login because unsuccesful logins would trigger locking
out the terminal. Instead, they hash their guess and compare it to
the stored hash- but if you can't read /etc/shadow, you can't
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