Data Centers

Get IT Done: Reset that missing NetWare Admin password

This article uses the SETPWD utility to quickly reset a forgotten NetWare Admin password


A few weeks ago, we showed you what to do about lost passwords in application files. But what do you do if you’ve lost the Admin password for your NetWare server and don’t have any users with Admin rights? Don’t’ panic. You can use the SETPWD utility to reset the Admin password on your NetWare server.

Old Faithful
The SETPWD utility has been around for quite a while. The utility is a NetWare Loadable Module (NLM) that can run on any version of NetWare after 3.11, including NetWare 5. It allows you to reset any password on a NetWare server. You’ll be glad you have it if you’ve forgotten your Admin password or been given administrative duties over a NetWare server without being given the Admin password.

You can find SETPWD.NLM by going to http://www.nmrc.org/files/snetware/index.html . This site also contains several other handy NetWare security utilities. To get SETPWD.NLM, download the SETPWD.ZIP file. The file is only 10K, so it will download almost instantly. Extract the archive file’s contents to a blank floppy disk using PKUNZIP or WinZIP.

On the floppy, you'll see five extracted files. The most important one is SETPWD.NLM, the actual utility. The other files are Readme files that contain information about the program and the source code for SETPWD.

You should copy the program to a disk rather than copying it to your server for two reasons. First, this technique makes the program easier to transport if you have to fix multiple servers. Second, having the program on disk avoids a security problem posed by storing the powerful tool on the server. If it’s on the server and users knows the path to it, they can execute it from the server at any time and change passwords on you without you knowing or being able to do anything about it.

Running the program
Using SETPWD is very easy. Because SETPWD runs as an NLM, you must run it at your server’s console rather than from your administrative workstation. Take the disk from your workstation and place it in the server's drive A: From the dedicated server's command console prompt, type:

LOAD A:SETPWD ADMIN newpassword

And then press [Enter]. The variable newpassword represents whatever string you want the Admin password to be.

After you enter the password, your server’s screen will briefly turn black with a copyright screen for SETPWD at the top. If SETPWD successfully changes the password, it will display a message saying so. This message also redisplays the password you entered, so make sure no one’s watching you when you do it. After the message displays, press any key to return to the console prompt.

When you're finished, you can either use SETPWD to set the password for another account or take the SETPWD disk out of the floppy drive and store it for future use. Make sure that you store it someplace secure. You don't want it to fall into the wrong hands.
The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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