NSX-T Edge node password management

The default NSX-T password expiration time is set to 90 days. But in a lab environment, this is not required. So here is a bit on how to disable the timer but also how to recover from an expired or forgotten password.

Reset exipred password

If the password for either of the users, audit, root, or admin, has expired you will see it when you try to log in with SSH. It will then prompt you to enter the current password followed by the new two times. Since this is only for home lab, and would like the previous password, I set a new and quick-to-remember password. Fimmer_old_password1. The SSH session then disconnects and you start a new connection with the new password.

nsx-edge> set user admin password My-New_VMware1!_Password old-password Fimmer_old_password1

After the reset and re-reset you now have 90 days of password again. or you could disable the password expiration…

If you find yourself in a situation of a forgotten admin password.

You will most likely be able to log in with the root account. Even if expired using the console of the Edge VM will always work. From there you can use the normal Linux password reset command to reset the admin account password.

passwd admin

And if you have tried the wrong password too much you can unlock the account with pam tally.

pam_tally2 --user admin --reset

Another note when you are logged in with root, users can still use nsxcli, just wrap your nsxcli commands with su admin -c ”

su admin '-c clear user audit password-expiration'

If your find yourself completely locked out of NSX-T

VMware has some good documentation on this. Basically it is

  • Connect to the console of the appliance and reboot the system. When the GRUB boot menu appears, press the left SHIFT or ESC key quickly. Press e to edit the menu. Press e to edit the selected option.
  • Search for the line starting with linux and add systemd.wants=PasswordRecovery.service to the end of the line. Press Ctrl-X to boot.

Set password to never expire

SSH to the edge node with the admin account. Using the nsxcli we can adjust the expiration to a maximum of 90 days. The commands below will set the password expiration to 9999 days and clear the expiration if already happened. VMware has it in their documentation here

nsx-edge> set user admin password-expiration 9999
nsx-edge> set user root password-expiration 9999
nsx-edge> set user audit password-expiration 9999
nsx-edge> clear user admin password-expiration
nsx-edge> clear user root password-expiration
nsx-edge> clear user audit password-expiration


Something that is always better than passwords is SSH Keys. You can add multiple ssh-keys to the same users in NSX-T. The cool thing is that you have a label for the key so multiple users can have access with their own SSH key, this way you avoid some of the hassles of having to use passwords in with your SSH connections

nsx-edge> set user admin ssh-keys label jr type ssh-rsa value 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


Having an expired password will cause you all sorts of trouble.

If you don’t have a PAM solution that can help you to automatically change the password, then setting the expiration to 9999 days will for sure help your manageability.

Putting your SSH key onto the nodes and managers will help you in the long run, and is in my opinion also a more secure solution than having passwords.