Umm. Up to now we've just been using the netbook for word processing - no problem. But we've now bought an external USB DVD drive. I put a video DVD in and Totem auto loaded but said it needed to install a plugin to read the DVD. It's found the plugin 'GStreamer' but pops up a window saying 'Enter password to perform administrative tasks'. Pressing enter doesn't work. We've only got a single user account 'owner' but no password. We don't logon explicitly, when the netbook boots we are 'owner' without inputing any password.
In Ubuntu there is no 'admnistrative' or 'root' password; when the system wants to perform an administrative task, it asks for the user password.
Now, you mention that you do not use a user password and your system is configured so that when you switch it on, it enters to the desktop screen without asking for username/password.
Do you remember whether you were asked to create a user account the first time you switched on the netbook?
If not, then Toshiba most probably has put a user password and they should tell you which it is.
So, what can you do? You can call the Toshiba customer care and ask for "the default user password for their NB100 netbooks". Note that this is not a 'root password', but the default user's password.
If you do not get any support from Toshiba, there is a process to reset the password.
Ask again if you are really stuck and reached a dead-end.
I've contacted Toshiba.
Apparently the netbook leaves the factory with no user id setup, on first boot Ubuntu should prompt for a user id and password.
This didn't happen so Toshiba think the retailer (Comet) set up the user id and password (the netbook was their last display model so this is possible) but the Comet staff I spoke to hadn't a clue. Toshiba also pointed out that the netbook comes with a recovery CD that can be used (now that I've got an external DVD drive) to reset the hard drive to 'as it left the factory'.
This sounds a bit drastic and if I'm going to re-install Ubuntu I might as well install a later version. I've done some digging and found that Grub has 2 boot options - normal Ubuntu & a revovery mode.
Booting into recovery mode gives root permissions without needing a password. I've used this to create a 2nd user id 'stewart' with a known password and I intended to move 'owner's files to 'stewart' and delete the 'owner' id. but unfortunately 'stewart' has got fewer permissions than 'owner' and I don't know how to grant the extra permissions.
Interestingly even though there are now 2 user ids normal Ubuntu still automatically logs on 'owner'.
So I'm now looking for a script file that is logging on 'owner' and hopefully will tell me 'owners' password.
It's quite reasonable that the laptop did not come with a preconfigured password,
and that most probably the sales people at the retailer set a password and completely forgot about it.
Since you managed to get into the recovery more, you can simply erase the password details of the default account.
1. Get into recovery mode. It should take you in a text console.
2. The passwords are stored encrypted (actually 'hashed') in /etc/shadow.
Just to be sure nothing bad happens, let's take a backup of this file.
sudo cp /etc/shadow /etc/shadow.BACKUP
Open the file using the 'nano' text editor. The command is
sudo nano /etc/shadow
3. There are several system accounts and your two accounts towards the end.
Your initial account where you do not know the password and your newer account.
Each line has several fields, separated with the : character.
The second field is the password information.
So, what you need to do carefully is to remove all password information.
For example, if the line is
When you feel comfortable with Ubuntu, you may want to upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04.
It has some nice goodies that you will appreciate.
For this, I would recommend you to familiarize first yourself with the Ubuntu community so that you can
get support if issues appear.
The ubuntuforums.org support forum should be your first stop for help. There are more than a million members
at UbuntuForums.org, and if you have an issue with your netbook, most probably someone else solved it already.
For example, I did a search for 'NB100' and I got a result that an NB100 user installed 10.04
without any problems at all. Another member replied confirming the case.
Another source of help is launchpad.net which is the official portal for the Ubuntu distribution.
You can ask support questions at the 'Find answers' link.
Note that all you get there you get for free from the community that wants to give back.
There is no guarantee for the help offered, not even for my replies in this thread.
This is a standard disclaimer.
I couldn't edit /etc/shadow as Nano is not installed (the only text editor installed is Gedit which needs the Gnome GUI). So I created an Ubuntu 10.04 live CD, booted from it and tried to edit the file using Gedit on the CD. Unfortunately the live CD user account didn't have permission to edit the file.
Then the penny dropped ! I didn't need to edit the file ! Booting the netbook into recovery mode gives me root authority, therefore I can simply re-set the password using the passwd command. Which I've done.