While VMware support’s official stance is that there is no supported way to reset a lost ESXi password; there are actually a few ways to do it, and I will show you the easiest process with the least risk. Keep in mind, this is an unsupported method, so please do so at your own risk, although in this case, the risk is very minimal.
In order for you to use this method there are a couple prerequisites that must be met.
- The host is connected to vCenter Server and Responding
- You have Enterprise + licensing as we will leverage host profiles
When you first connect a host to vCenter Server, the a new user called “vpxuser” is created on the host. The vpxuser gets assigned a hashed password that is encrypted with the vCenter Server certificate and is assigned root privileges. Since this user has these permissions, it allows us to leverage those permissions and a host profile feature that lets us specify a root password to the host we apply the profile to.
Step 1. Create a host profile from any one of your hosts. We will only configure the password and uncheck all other settings. To do so, right-click on the host, select “Host Profile“, then “Create Profile from host…”
Step 6. Type your new password in both text boxes then click “OK”
Step 7. Right Click on the host profile again, but this time select “Enable/Disable Profile Configuration…”
Step 8. Uncheck the top level box to deselect all configuration options, then re-check “Security configuration” then click “OK”
Step 14. Click “Finish”
That’s all! It’s pretty simple to do as long as you meet the two prerequisites at the beginning. I hope this helps anyone who has lost their password and does not want to do a full reinstall.