/vCenter 5.x/6.x: How to reset administrator@vsphere.local account password

vCenter 5.x/6.x: How to reset administrator@vsphere.local account password

There is a couple of reasons why we can lose our SSO administrator password.

We can forget the password, but also after an update from vCenter from 5.1 to 5.5, we cannot change the password in vSphere Web Client(is grayed out).

If happened, we need to reset the password SSO administrator@vsphere.local.

You can reset the password with the tool vdcadmintool.exe on a Window Server, or from the vCenter Appliance(Linux based).

  • How to reset

  • For the vCenter Windows Server:

Log in to the vCenter Server with a domain administrator account, or to vCenter Single Sign-On if SSO is installed in a separated server.

Open a cmd(shell command prompt) console with “Run as Administrator”

Go to vmdird folder, that is located in “Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VMware\CIS\vmdird” or in “C:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\vmdird”

  1.  Change Directory: c:\cd\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VMware\CIS\vmdird
  2.  Run vdcadmintool tool: c:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VMware\CIS\vmdird>vdcadmintool.exe
  3.  Press 3 to choose to:  Reset administrator@vSphere.local password account.
  4.  Add the Account DN: cn=administrator,cn=users,dc=vSphere,dc=local 

    if you customized your vSphere Domain name, provide the customized domain name in the Account DN option.(a new password is generated and displayed. Use this password to log into the administrator@vSphere.local account.)
  5. Press 0(zero) to exit console menu.

vCenter 5.x/6.x: How to reset administrator@vsphere.local account password

  • For the vCenter Server Appliance

For vCenter Appliance is the same procedure as for Windows, except the connection to the vCenter and location of the vdcadmintool

Connect to your vCenter Appliance with ssh and user root(if you did not change the initial password, the default password is vmware).

Note: If ssh is not enabled in the vCenter appliance you need to enabled ssh option in the vCenter Appliance Web Console.

Connect to:

https://ip-address:5480 and in the admin tab enable “Administrator SSH login enabled.”

vCenter 5.x/6.x: How to reset administrator@vsphere.local account password

After you are connected to the vCenter Appliance through ssh, the location of the  vdcadmintool is: /usr/lib/vmware-vmdir/bin/vdcadmintool

Reset Password:

Run the tool and use the same procedure/options that are detailed above for Windows vCenter.

vCenter 5.x/6.x: How to reset administrator@vsphere.local account password 

Note: If you customized your vSphere Domain name, provide the customized domain name in the Account DN option.

After these tasks, your account administrator@vsphere.local password is reset.

Note: After you reset your account if you want to change the password to your company/environment policy, you can connect to your vCenter with vSphere Web Client and edit user(administrator) and change the password for administrator account.

Go to option “Administration; Single Sign-On; User and Groups; Users Tab” then choose administrator user, right mouse click and choose “Edit User”(or use Edit User icon) and change password.

vCenter 5.x/6.x: How to reset administrator@vsphere.local account password

If you have your administrator@vsphere.local account locked(too many bad password attempts), or any other account, in the “Administration; Single Sign-On; User and Groups  Users Tab”, right mouse click and choose “Unlock”(or use Actions – Unlock icon) to unlock the account.

Note: To unlock, or do any changes in the administrator@vsphere.local, or connect to Single Sign-On area, you need a user with Single Sign-On administration permissions.

Additional information you can find it here in VMware KB: KB-2061122 and KB-2034608

Hope this can help you fix your issues with the account administrator@vsphere.local(or other administration accounts).

Note: Share this article, if you think it is worth sharing.

©2017 ProVirtualzone. All Rights Reserved
By | 2018-11-29T23:13:15+01:00 June 3rd, 2015|VMware Posts|16 Comments

About the Author:

I have over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. I have been working with Virtualization for more than 15 years (mainly VMware). I recently obtained certifications, including VCP DCV 2022, VCAP DCV Design 2023, and VCP Cloud 2023. Additionally, I have VCP6.5-DCV, VMware vSAN Specialist, vExpert vSAN, vExpert NSX, vExpert Cloud Provider for the last two years, and vExpert for the last 7 years and a old MCP. My specialties are Virtualization, Storage, and Virtual Backup. I am a Solutions Architect in the area VMware, Cloud and Backup / Storage. I am employed by ITQ, a VMware partner as a Senior Consultant. I am also a blogger and owner of the blog ProVirtualzone.com


  1. javid 26/12/2016 at 13:12

    is using vdcadmintool must? what if we change password directly from vsphere web client?

    • Luciano Patrao 12/01/2017 at 22:28

      Hi Javi,

      Yes you can, but how can you change that password, since you don’t have the initial password to login?
      Also when you upgrade from 5.1 to 5.5, sometimes that option is not available.

    • Luciano Patrao 11/06/2017 at 18:45

      Hi Javid,

      Only today I notice that my reply is not sending emails to users that comment on my blog. So now I am just FYI to you regarding my comment.

      Thank You

      Luciano Patrao

  2. Abbas 27/10/2017 at 13:15

    thank yo so much it worked for me from windows CMD, but it asked for UPN wich i provide administrator@vsphere.local

  3. dave 01/11/2017 at 01:01

    What if we wanted to change the password for another local user? Can we do it via powershell (powercli) or Rest? I want to automate rotating passwords.

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  5. kwf 24/07/2021 at 14:26

    does not work. on appliance I see the vdcadmintool but unable to run it. Cannot find directory…

  6. Mohammed 01/08/2021 at 18:34

    Hi thanks for the valuable article i was able to get the password of Vcenter Server .. could you pls advise how to get the ESXI host password if lost or forgotten , my current license is VMware essential plus with which I cant reset the password using Host profile.

    • Luciano Patrao 02/08/2021 at 12:56

      The only way is to use Host Profiles, if not only install ESXi again.
      There is some Linux hack way, but I do not use that, or propose that to anyone.

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