When you install SharePoint using an option other than Stand-Alone you will be asked for a “Passphrase” that can be used later on for things like adding a new server to the farm. This is especially needed if you let SharePoint 2010 manage your service account passwords where SharePoint will automatically change the passwords to strong, but unknown passwords.
I don’t think there is anyway to retrieve the passphrase if you forget it. If you need to change the passphrase after the install you can use PowerShell. (Don’t know PowerShell yet? You will…)
- From your Start menu select “SharePoint 2010 Management Shell” or Start, “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products”, “SharePoint 2010 Management Shell”
- Then enter:
C:\PS> $passphrase = ConvertTo-SecureString -asPlainText -Force
C:\PS> Set-SPPassPhrase -PassPhrase $passphrase -Confirm
The first line will prompt you for a password and store the secure version in the $passphrase variable.
The second line will prompt you to confirm the passphrase and then ask you if you are REALLY sure you want to do this.
I have not seen anything in TechNet on this command yet. For help on this command from PowerShell type:
help passphrase -examples