Change MySQL Root Password in Ubuntu

In this tutorial we will look at how to change the MySQL root password in Ubuntu Linux if you have forgotten it or inherited a server and never knew it in the first place. To change the MySQL root password in Ubuntu you will need superuser privileges, i.e. root access, on the system. The following guide works on Ubuntu 10.04, 10.10, 11.04, 11.10, and possibly 12.04.

If you do know the root password but simply want to change it, have a look at our how to change MySQL user password tutorial.

Resetting the MySQL root password on Ubuntu

Below are the steps to change the MySQL root password in Ubuntu. Ensure that you run the following commands as root (the Linux superuser, not to be confused with the MySQL admin user).

1) Execute the following to stop the MySQL server:

service mysql stop

Expected result:

mysql stop/waiting

2) Start a temporary MySQL server in a mode that will make it not ask for a password. The ampersand (&) at the end of the command is a Bash operator which tells the shell to execute the command in the background in a subshell. (If we didn't use the & symbol the server would be started in the foreground in our shell and we wouldn't be able to run any more commands till it was terminated.)

mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &

Expect a result like:

[1] 3426
120109 18:45:00 mysqld_safe Logging to syslog.
120109 18:45:00 mysqld_safe Starting mysqld daemon with databases from /var/lib/mysql

Note the job number in square brackets (in this case 1), we will need it later.

3) Connect to the temporary MySQL server we just started using the regular MySQL client without a password:

mysql -u root

Expect a result like:

Welcome to the MySQL monitor. Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 1
Server version: 5.1.41-3ubuntu12.10 (Ubuntu)

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


4) Run a MySQL Update Query on the mysql.user table to change the root password, flush privileges for the changes to take effect and then quit:

UPDATE mysql.user SET password = PASSWORD('newrootpassword') WHERE User = 'root';

The queries should execute successfully and then you should get:


At this point the password has been changed and we have logged out of the MySQL server.

5) Now we will need to terminate the temporary MySQL server we started. Recall the job number which you noted from Step 2 above. If you forgot to note it, execute:


Expect a result like:

[1]+ Running mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &

Then execute:

kill %1

Where 1 is the job number identifying the "mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &" job. The result is:

120109 18:58:13 mysqld_safe mysqld from pid file /var/lib/mysql/ ended
[1]+ Done mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables

Now there is no MySQL server running.

6) Start the regular MySQL server:

service mysql start

Expect a result like:

mysql start/running, process 3570

7) Login with your new MySQL password:

mysql -u root -p

And that is it. You should now be successfully logged in to the MySQL server.

And that is how you change the MySQL root password in Ubuntu if you have forgotten it. We know you found this tutorial useful :-)

Let us know that it works for you by leaving a comment below.

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