How to recover a lost admin password in Contribute, and a tip for connecting via SFTP

A couple tips for administrators of Contribute 3 content management systems:

  • If you lose your site administrator password, Macromedia/Adobe tells you some lies about having to wipe out all the Contribute settings on your server.  This is not at all true.  Do this to reset the password without wiping out your settings:
    1. in the document root of your server, there will be a _mm directory.  In that directory, find a file called something like cthub[a bunch of numbers].csi.  This is the file that stores your Contribute site settings.
    2. Make a copy of the cthub[…].csi file, so you can restore it if you mess something up.
    3. Edit the file with a text editor (it’s just an XML file), and change the admin_password and admin_password_salt values to empty strings, like so:

      <admin_password value=” />
      <admin_password_salt value=” />

    4. Now you can make a new connection to the site and make yourself part of the Administrator role without having to enter a password.  You’ll want to set up a new password under Administer Website ยป Administration, though, and Contribute will complain if you don’t, so listen to it.

  • Is Contribute not accepting your SFTP username and password, even though it works fine in other programs?  It might be a weird issue with sshd that I only recently came across, and solved thanks to a blog post at  It seems that Contribute will not work if PasswordAuthentication no is set in the sshd_config file on your server, even if UsePAM yes is enabled.  So, you must enable PasswordAuthentication for Contribute to connect.  Fruity.

  • christine
    09/01/2006 12:20:48 PM

    worked great for me - thanks!

  • William C
    11/02/2006 07:10:12 PM

    Excellent tip

  • New Administrator
    11/20/2007 03:07:30 PM

    Worked perfectly without having to re-create nearly 20 unique user roles! Simple!

  • James
    02/13/2008 11:30:53 AM

    Now I deleted the _MM folder on the server. Then resetup contrib CS3 and it works a treat. HOWEVER, the client, uses Contrib 3, and has firefox as his browser (doubt that’s even relevent) but when I resetup Admin on his system, (after once again deleting the _MM folder to clear the server) we see contribute say “uploading cthub3#########.csi” then is shoutes “cannot save your changes to the websites shared settings on the server”

    But it only does this from his PC, works on mine, works on my friends floorlessly. Any suggestions? Email me yea xx bless, lots of love! xx

  • Ed Finkler
    02/13/2008 11:54:19 AM

    @James: No idea. Sorry! I think you’d have better luck with the support forms at adobe