I bought a new Windows laptop computer about nine months ago, to replace my linux desktop that I purchased in 2000. Yesterday, I needed to check to see if I had a file or two on the old desktop computer, but I hadn’t logged in for eight months; I had no idea what my password was. Now, I should have a root/boot disk set, even though floppy disks are going the way of cursive. But I didn’t. Instead, I had the slackware installation disks from my first venture into linux: a IBM PS/2, with 60 meg of hard drive space, in 1997. I was able to use those disks to load a working, if spartan, linux system into RAM. Then, I mounted the boot partition and used sed (vi being unavailable) to edit the shadow file:

sed 's/root:[^:]*:/root::/' shadow > shadow.new
mv shadow.new shadow

Unmount the partition, reboot, pop the floppy out, and I’m in to find that pesky file. As far as I know, those slackware install disks are the oldest bit of software that I own that still is useful.

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