If you are using Unbuntu, then by default there is no password set for the root user. In order to log onto root, you have to initially create your own password. this password will be the password that you set for the first user that you created while installing the OS.
To manually set the password type "sudo passwd" into the command shell and then confirm your password.
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You need to boot the machine into runlevel 1. This will reboot into a secured shell and allow you to run passwd. This will in turn allow you to set the password for the root account.
To get into runlevel 1, either type telinit 1 in a terminal or command prompt on a Linux machine, or reboot the machine and do the following:
When the splash screen for the OS appears hit F12. This should take you to the grub bootloader. Highlight the entry for the kernel version you are using and press "e". This will allow you to edit this entry. At the end of the line just add the "1" character to it and save the changes and boot into that kernel. The OS should boot directly to a command prompt. At this time you should be the root user. Simply run passwd and enter in a new password, reboot the machine and log in as root using the password you just entered.
When Ubuntu boots, select Esc for the boot menu (Grub) and select
recovery mode. Ubuntu will then boot w/o asking you for a password
signed in as root. Type passwd USERNAME and it will reset your password. source:http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110608030342AArlwua
Ubuntu has the root account locked by default. If you need to run as root, you use sudo username (This is recommended) If you want to have a root shell on an Ubuntu system (It is not suggestedsuggested) sudo -i This is equivalent to the "su -" commandsudo -s This is equivalent to the "su" command