Resetting the Jenkins admin password

So, you've locked yourself out of Jenkins. You may have seen some guides which involve disabling security for an account, logging into the account without a password, then resetting the password and re-enabling security. While somewhat common, it is dangerous and actually more complicated than the ideal situation.

A terrible, yet common idea:

Jenkins bad password reset

When you leave your account open without a password, you're violating every security principle you can think of.

You might think to yourself that the time window where your admin account is unsecured is too short for an unauthorized entity to log in and do harm. You tell yourself that you are careful and reset the password as soon as possible, to keep this time window short.

Now imagine that someone else on your team asks you how to reset the password and you show them this technique. Now what if this person disables security then goes off to lunch? Or goes home? Now the system is unsecured for an indefinite amount of time.

Because you taught them this horrible technique, you put your company's system in harm's way.

Don't ever do this.

A much better idea:

Jenkins good password reset

We can reset the password while leaving security on.

The config.xml file in /var/lib/Jenkins/users/admin/ acts sort of like the /etc/shadow file Linux or UNIX-like systems or the SAM file in Windows, in the sense that it stores the hash of the account's password.

If you need to reset the password without logging in, you can edit this file and replace the old hash with a new one generated from bcrypt:

$ pip install bcrypt
$ python
>>> import bcrypt
>>> bcrypt.hashpw("yourpassword", bcrypt.gensalt(rounds=10, prefix=b"2a"))

This will output your hash, with prefix 2a, the correct prefix for Jenkins hashes.

Now, edit the config.xml file:


Once you insert the new hash, reset Jenkins:

(if you are on a system with systemd):

sudo systemctl restart Jenkins

You can now log in, and you didn't leave your system open for a second.