Today I am midway through setting up my lab and realized the reason VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is failing is because I set the wrong password in my JSON file for the root account on my vCenter appliance.

No big deal, right? Just SSH in and change it. I tried, and got this:

The bypass was actually easy. Presumably you’re already SSH’d in as root, so you just need to edit /etc/pam.d/system-password

Remove enforce_for_root from the first line with Save the file, no need to restart any services, and retry passwd.

After that, I re-added enforce_for_root to the file and clicked RETRY back in VCF and all things are happy once again.