Reset lost admin password on FortiGate unit (Password Recovery)

    Posted in SSL Certificates on Nov 05, 2019


    Reset a lost admin password on a FortiGate unit (password recovery)

    Periodically a situation arises where the FortiGate needs to be accessed or the admin account’s password needs to be changed but no one with the existing password is available. If a physical access to the device is possible and with a few other tools, the password can be reset.

    By this article method we can reset password of the following FortiGate device –

    1. FortiGate

    2. FortiGate v5.0

    3. FortiGate v5.2

    4. FortiGate v5.4

    5. FortiWiFi v5.0

    6. FortiWiFi v5.2

    7. FortiWiFi v5.4

    What is needed:

    1. Console cable

    2. Terminal software such as Putty.exe (Windows) or Terminal (MacOS)

    3. Serial number of the FortiGate device


    Step 1.

    Connect the computer to the firewall via the Console port on the back of the unit. In most units this is done either by a Serial cable or a RJ-45 to Serial cable. There are some units that use a USB cable and FortiExplorer to connect to the console port. Virtual instances will not have any physical port to connect to so you will have to use the supplied VM Hosts’ console connection utility.

    Step 2.

    Start your terminal software. (For example: putty)

    Step 3.

    Connect to the firewall using the following:

    Setting Value Speed Baud 9600 Data Bits 8Bit Parity None Stop Bits 1 Flow Control No Hardware Flow Control Com Port The correct com-port

    Step 4.

    The firewall should then respond with its name or hostname. (If it does not try pressing "enter")

    Step 5.

    Reboot the firewall. If there is no power button, disconnect the power adapter and reconnect it after 10 seconds. Plugging in the power too soon after unplugging it can cause corruption in the memory in some units.

    Step 6.

    Wait for the Firewall name and login prompt to appear. The terminal window should display something similar to the following:

    FortiGate-60C (18:52-06.18.2010)


    Serial number: FGT60C3G10xxxxxx

    CPU(00): 525MHz

    Total RAM: 512 MB

    NAND init... 128 MB

    MAC Init... nplite#0

    Press any key to display configuration menu...


    reading boot image 1163092 bytes.

    Initializing firewall...

    System is started.


    Step 7.

    Type in the username: maintainer

    Step 8.

    The password is bcpb plus the serial number of the firewall (the letters of the serial number are in UPPERCASE format)

    For example: bcpbFGT60C3G10xxxxxx

    On some devices, after the device boots, you have only 14 seconds or less to type in the username and password. It might, therefore, be necessary to have the credentials ready in a text editor, and then copy and paste them into the login screen.

    There is no indicator of when your time runs out so it is possible that it might take more than one attempt to succeed.

    Step 9.

    Now you should be connected to the firewall. To change the admin password you type the following...

    In a unit where vdoms are not enabled:

    config system admin

    edit admin

    set password


    In a unit where vdoms are enabled:

    config global

    config system admin

    edit admin

    set password


    If you are concerned that there is a backdoor into the system then you can disable the maintainer account. The maintainer account is enabled by default, if you wish, there is an option to disable this feature. However, if you disable the feature and lose the password without having someone else that can log in as a superadmin profile user you will be out of options should the admin password be lost.

    If you attempt to use the maintainer account and see the message on the console, “PASSWORD RECOVERY FUNCTIONALITY IS DISABLED”, this means that the maintainer account has been disabled.

    Disabling the maintainer account.

    Use the following command in the CLI to change the status of the maintainer account.

    To disable

    config system global

    set admin-maintainer



    To enable

    config system global

    set admin-maintainer




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