Fixing the !@$*$% Contribute Administrator Password

Several of my clients use Adobe Contribute (formerly known as Macromedia Contribute etc. etc.). And, well, how do I put this nicely? It sucks. Gloriously. Both from an end-user standpoint as well as from an admin’s standpoint.

Just ran into a serious glitch where a previous geek overlord had set an administrator password but omitted to provide me with same as part of the handover. So, now what? Adobe doesn’t provide anything useful in the way of a password retrieval mechanism within Contribute, their suggestion is, “Nuke everything, start over. Have a nice day.” Whee. Not happening.

So, I turn instead to the trusted intertubes, and find this fix:

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 » Administration, though, and Contribute will complain if you don’t, so listen to it

It totally works. Just remember that the _mm folder is set to be hidden if you’re trying to retrieve it from within Dreamweaver, and Dreamweaver is going to be mighty reluctant to let you edit the file. Use Notepad and a regular FTP client to zap the password. Huge props to Ed over at