Basic VMware PhotonOS config

Still a bit new to PhotonOS. But it’s getting more and more that I use PhotonOS for deploying things with, like CSE for VCD.

I always struggle with the basics, even though I know a bit about Linux and Unix. So here is come quick tips on

  • First login
  • Network
  • SSH
  • Passwords
  • NTP

First login

When the VM is deployed you can now login to it with root and password “changeme”. It will then require you to change the password to something else.


You can view network interfaces with networkctrl and IP a to show what is already configured.

If you want to set it to a static ip you have to create a new config file.

cat > /etc/systemd/network/ << "EOF"

After the file has been created you can set the correct permissions and restart the network and resolver. If you skip the chmod you will probably see a fail in network reboot due to the system not being able to read the new file

chmod 644 /etc/systemd/network/
systemctl restart systemd-networkd
systemdctl restart systemd-resolved

SSH config

When you want to connect to PhotonOS with a password but also have either your pageant or native ssh console running you will try to authenticate with a public/private key. If your key is not added to the server you will get a “Too many failed authentications”. To get around this you can use a parameter.

ssh -o PreferredAuthentications=password -o PubkeyAuthentication=no <hostname>

This will then make authentication with a password.

Forgot root password

If you forgot the root password and need to reset it you can do the following.

  1. reboot and press “e” to enter the grub boot loader. add the line rw init=/bin/bash shown on the screenshot. Press F10 to boot

2. You should now be in a shell on the system, from here you can run passwd

3. Unmount / and reboot the system

umount /
reboot -f

Disable password history

If you encounter the problem of trying to reset the password but the password you want to set says: Password has been already used. Choose another.

You can disable this by editing the /etc/pam.d/system-password.

By changing ‘remember ‘ from 5 to 0 we can disable the remember password count and reset the root password.

Paste into PhotonOS PuTTy session

When using vi there is a “bug” that prevents you from normal paste with right-click. To workaround this you need to write :set mouse= in vi command mode. After done you can not use paste with right-click.

Shift+Ins might be also used to paste on PuTTY.

NTP settings

Some apps running in PhotonOS are very time-sensitive, vcda is one of them. use watch -n 0,1 date on each of the appliances that need to communicate and verify that time is not skewed.

If you need to set up NTP post-deployment you can do as follows. Edit the timesyncd.conf file with a text editor such as vi:

vi /etc/systemd/timesyncd.conf

In the [Time] section edit the NTP entry with the correct NTP server address:


After having put in the NTP server you want to use restart the network and time sync service

systemctl restart systemd-networkd
systemctl restart systemd-timesyncd

Verify that the time on the appliance is now synchronizing with the NTP server.

Further troubleshooting is to see if the NTP service is running

systemctl status systemd-timesyncd

Jesper Ramsgaard