Something has locked the root account. (Typically, an add-on service for logging, etc.)
1. Connect to the VMs Host or vCenter and login to its vSphere Web Client.
2. Locate the VM and Restart it:
a. Right-click, choose Edit Settings.
- - Under the VM Options tab, and the Boot section, click the checkbox to have the VM boot into BIOS on the next restart.
- - This will give time to exit the BIOS and already be in the console to click the "e" boot option to escape/pause the boot.
b. Right-click and choose: VM --> Power --> Restart Guest OS
c. Exit w/o Saving from the BIOS.
3. Boot into a command shell:
a. As soon as the GNU GRUB window is visible, click 'e' (for edit). Click 'e' again to see the boot root/kernel/initrd menu.
b. Make sure the kernel / boot/vmlinuz-... line is selected. (Arrow up/down to it, if not selected.)
c. Click 'e" again, to edit the selected command.
d. Add to the end of the line a space and init=/bin/bash
e. Click <enter> to return to the root/kernel/initrd menu.
f. Click 'b' to boot.
4. At the shell root prompt:
Make the password to never expire and clear the history.
# chage -M -1 root; echo "" > /etc/security/opasswd
Check the error tally:
# pam_tally2 -u root
<read output - root should be listed>
If so, reset with:
# pam_tally2 -u root --reset
If you need to reset the password, do:
<enter new password twice>
5. Reboot the appliance again from the vSphere client.