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Pretty straight forward. I have an ubuntu 9.10 NBR fresh install, and su nor sudo will accept my password from the command line. I can use synaptic and the updater tool, as well as invoke things with gksudo, but not invoke with sudo or su in the terminal.

The password is standard 8 character, 2 upper case letters, 2 numbers, and the rest lower case letters. But it says the password is incorrect.

As stated, this is a fresh install, I haven't fiddled with any settings. Am I missing a step? Or is there something horribly wrong.

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My current work around is invoking "gksudo gnome-terminal" and it seems to work. Odd, yet it works. – tvanover Dec 10 '09 at 4:32
I'm guessing you're attempting to su into the root account? By default Ubuntu doesn't have a root password, so su should not work. If you need a root shell you can do a sudo su -. It's hard to tell what you mean by sudo not working. Does it give an error message? Does it say your password is incorrect? – Darren Hall Dec 10 '09 at 8:01
Any non-ASCII characters in your password that might confuse a broken console app? Does setting a new passwd for the user fix it? – bobince Dec 10 '09 at 12:26
could you post your /etc/sudoers file please? – Maciek Sawicki Dec 10 '09 at 20:14

Perhaps this link will be of help ...

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Character set issue? Does your terminal agree with X about what character set you're using?

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This is really a comment, not an answer to the question. Please use "add comment" to leave feedback for the author. – Diogo Aug 10 '12 at 13:01

i found this quick and easy way to reset ubuntu user password:

i was messing around with /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow and some how lost my ability to use sudo, and then realized my user password got changed or deleted some how.

glhf! -outeran

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The Asker was trying to figure out why su did not work, but why gksu did work, not how to reset their password. – neersighted Dec 22 '12 at 17:02

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