Got Root? Setting a root password and logging into the new HP Media Vault series Home Servers

Note: this tutorial is only for second generation Media Vault servers, Models MV2120,
MV5140 pro and MV5150 pro

The HP Media Vault is the latest offering from HP and since it’s based on Linux, it’s hackable and once you get root it’s all yours to improve (or break). Keep in mind that once you mess with the OS in any way, it’s a good guess that the warranty will be voided and you could be left with a $300 paperweight with some really cool blue LED’s…

Before we begin we must thank Lee for his wonderful site loaded with technical details on the HP Media Vault servers. Please see the links at the bottom for a link to Lee’s page. The new Media Vault series all have SSH enabled by default, but you must set an administrator username and password to begin. This tutorial assumes you have already setup the Media Vault and can access it via IP, \\ServerName and by using the HP Media Vault Control center as shown in the screenshot below:

Step 1) Launch the HP Media Vault Control Center and click on the TOOLS
HP Media Vault main settings screen
The HP Media Vault control center application

Step 2) Click on CUSTOMIZE HP MEDIA VAULT to get to the Status Screen. This will launch your browser, and since you have not set a username and password yet, will get right in without any authorization needed.

HP Media Vault System settings screen
The Tools menu of the Control Center

Step 3) From the Status Screen, Click the System button as shown below

HP Media Vault status screen
The HP Media Vault Status screen showing Disk Space and other information

Step 4) Click the green EDIT button in the bottom right corner as shown below

HP Media Vault System settings screen
The System screen allows you to edit the administrator username and password

Step 5) Enter in a username and password as shown below – this will be the “administrator” password and will double as the root password – the “god” password that has all rights on the server. We highly urge you to set a STONG username and password if you plan to enable remote access to your server. If you decide to forward port 22 (SSH) to your server, please make sure your password is very secure.

HP Media Vault System settings screen
The HP Media Vault System Settings Screen

The username can be anything – we selected ours to be called “administrator” and selected a strong password. You should then use this password to setup the other features of the server, add users, create shares and more since all other users will be restricted.

We have root! Now that you have setup the administrator username and password, that password is also the root password. Now it’s time to login!

Obtaining the proper software tools:
This tutorial is written for Windows users, since both MAC and Linux users can use integrated tools within their OS to login without external apps. Putty is what we use to login from our Windows XP system. Click on the link below to download Putty.exe

Logging in to the Media Vault as root:

Step 1) Launch Putty.exe after downloading

Step 2) Enter in the INTERNAL IP address of the Media Vault in the Host Name field. In our case we are using a Linksys WRT54G router with the IP of so we set our Media Vault to a static LAN IP of – a safe IP on most home networks powered by a Linksys router. Make sure that the port is set to 22 and SSH is the connection type. Hit OPEN

Putty Internal IP
Saving your profile in Putty allows for easier access

Step 3) Click YES on the security alert below to continue.

Click YES on the Putty warning screen to continue

Step 4) You will now see the screen shown below asking for your login username. Enter root as shown and hit enter. Then enter the password and hit enter.

Logged in as root
Logging into the HP Media Vault as root

Step 5) You are now logged in and have root access to make changes etc. Keep in mind the warning in the beginning of this tutorial, we are not responsible for you killing your server dead. Happy hacking and please be sure to send us your tips and tricks on what you did with your HP Media Vault server!

Logged in as root
Logged into the HP Media Vault as root, ready to hack!

Related Links:
Media Vault Product Page
Media Vault Manual
Lee Devlins Media Vault site
Putty SSH Download

Have any Hacks, Tricks or Tips for us? Please submit a comment send us an email and let us know the neat things you have done to customize your HP Media Vault home server!