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Fedora 10: unable to authenticate user and reenabling the root login access.

PROBLEM

In Fedora 10, the root login was disabled into the GUI, giving you a unable to authenticate user message.  You may have noticed that you got a warning about this in Fedora 9 but it wasn't yet disabled then.  Not so in Fedora 10 so this might be something you would want to do prior to rebooting after upgrading to Fedora 10.  I'm not all too surprised this eventually happened.  It's not uncommon to hear of logging in as root in the GUI being discouraged whereever you happen to ask.  So essentially the pot finally boiled over and we no longer have this option standard at least on the latest Fedora releases.  This effects Gnome, KDE and the whole lot.

Essentially the problem relies in the GDM file and here is how to bring this back:

SOLUTION

Anyway, here is how to enable or reenable it should you run into the same problem.

  1. At the UI login screen hit CTRL-ALT-F2 to switch to a ready terminal login screen.
  2. Login as the root user ID.
  3. cd /etc/pam.d/
  4. cp -aR gdm gdm.old
  5. vi /etc/pam.d/gdm
  6. Comment out the line like this (add item in green):
    # auth       required    pam_succeed_if.so user != root quiet
  7. Type :wq to write the file out and quit.
  8. Since Fedora 11, you may need to edit another file still, /etc/pam.d/gdm-password to allow for root logins.
  9. Again if you need to edit gdm-password, comment out the below line like this (add item in green):
    # auth       required    pam_succeed_if.so user != root quiet
  10. Type CTRL-ALT-F7 or F1 to return to the login session.
  11. Try to login as root again.

Of course there could be other issues.  Possibly you may need to reset your password and if you are trying to edit the /etc/pam.d/gdm or gdm-password files from within the UI as an unprevilidged user, then you'll also need to su - or sudo as root.  If the above doesn't work, you'll need to restart the system and login using the root account in single user mode.

5 Responses to “Fedora 10: unable to authenticate user and reenabling the root login access.”

  1. thanx for the support!
    but, when i tried it in my newly installed Fedora 10 from live cd, i get the following
    ###################################################################

    cp -aR gdm gdm.old
    cp: cannot create regular file `gdm.old’: Permission denied

    ####################################################################

    the same happens when i try to edit the file gdm.
    is there any other way, i can edit this thing! pls help….

  2. Tom Kacperski on March 24th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Bah! My bad. You need to login as root through the terminal login screen. (Do that often enough and it gets taken for granted.) Just updated the steps above to reflect this. :)

    Cheers & Good Luck!

  3. AWESOME HELP!!!…thank you so much.

  4. hi, thanks , it worked.

  5. Thanks
    It is working now
    In Fedora 12
    su – root or su – (it is working in command prompt)
    cp -aR /etc/pam.d/gdm /etc/pam.d/gdm.old
    comment out as above mentioned ( vim or nano )
    as well as
    cp -aR /etc/pam.d/gdm-password /etc/pam.d/password.old
    and restart the system login with root user

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