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Unable to change the root password from the default root password on the Extreme 8820 platform. The root password change using the commands, “su” and “su –“, behave differently in an attempt to change the root password.

If the “su” command is used, it will report the root password change is successful, but the login to root using this changed password won’t work. If the “su –“, command is used, it won’t allow you to change the root password and throws an error message (see below Symptoms for details).


The root cause is a defect in updating certain password files, “/etc/shadow” with appropriate permissions after changing the root password using “passwd” command.


There are no data plane or control plane issues, however, customers cannot use a different root password other than the default.

Products Affected

Extreme 8820

Software Affected

All versions prior to 20.5.3 and 20.5.2b that pertain to Extreme 8820 platform.


An attempt to change the password with fewer than four characters will be successful but can’t login with the changed password (for example: “test”) and the default password only works to login into root.

[admin@8820]# su


[root@8820]# passwd


Warning:  Access to  the root account may be required  for

proper support of the router.  Please  ensure  the root

password is  documented in a secure location.  Recovery of a lost root

password will result in downtime.

New password:  test

Retype new password: test

passwd: password updated successfully

Saving password to stable storage.

Password saved to stable storage successfully.


[root@8820]# exit


[admin@8820]# su

Password:  test

su: Authentication failure


[admin@8820]# su -


root@8820:~# passwd

Context unavailable

Environment information is not available



Updated firmware that corrects this defect, SLXOS-74158, will be available in SLX-OS 20.5.3 onwards.

Use the “fullinstall” option of the firmware download command when upgrading to ensure that the appropriate permissions are updated for the device. Once this is done, it is no longer required to use the fullinstall command for future upgrades.


Please see the full field notice article here for updates and more details.