I have been asked several times about how one can unlock HR schema or user in oracle database 12c? In this blog I will try to answer your question along with some common errors which you may face during or after unlocking the HR schema in Oracle Database 12c.

So let’s go ahead and see how we can unlock HR user in Oracle Database 12c.

Because of the new and updated architecture of Oracle 12c a.k.a Multitenant Architecture, the process of unlocking the HR schema is not as simple as it was with the earlier versions of oracle database. We have to do some settings before unlocking the HR schema in oracle 12c.

In oracle database 12c multitenant architecture we have a container database (CBD) which has at least one Seed pluggable database (PDB) and can have up to 252 user created pluggable databases. Furthermore in oracle database 12c the HR sample schema is placed inside the pluggable database which is created either during the installation of the Oracle Database 12c or during the creation of a new container database.

So let’s see the steps for unlocking the HR schema in oracle Database 12c.

Step 1: Get the Pluggable database name and service name.

As I just mentioned that the HR schema in Oracle 12c is placed in the user pluggable database thus to unlock it we need to get the name of the pluggable database. In order to do so first log on to your database as sys user

C:\>  sqlplus /  as  sysdba

In Oracle 12c when we do not specify any service, container or the name of any pluggable database then oracle by default connects us to the Root Container database which always has CBD$ROOT name. You can check whether you are connected to a Root CBD or any Pluggable Database by checking the value of con_name (Connection name) parameter.

SQL> SHOW  con_name;

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

To find out the name of all the pluggable databases available in your system you can query v$pbds view.

SQL> SELECT  name,  con_id  FROM  v$pdbs;

Here in this query along with the name of all the available user PDBs I am also selecting their container ID (con_id) because by the help of the corresponding container id of the pluggable database we can easily find its associated net service. 

Here I have 2 pluggable databases available on my system.

  1. PDB$SEED: First is PDB$SEED which has container id 2. This is our seed PDB which is a default pluggable database (PDB) used as a template for user-created PDBs by the system. The seed is always named PDB$SEED.
  2. Second is PDBORCL which has container id 3. This pluggable database is the one that was created by me during the installation of oracle database 12c which has our sample HR schema.

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

To find the name of the service we will use v$active_services view. In most of the cases oracle software creates database and its service with the same name.

SQL> SELECT  name  FROM  v$active_services  WHERE  con_id = 3;

This query will return the name of the service corresponding to the container id (con_id) 3 which is the container id of pluggable database pdborcl.

The result returned from this query in my case is “pdborcl” which is the name of the service for my pluggable database “PDBORCL”. Don’t get confused here as I have already mentioned that in most cases the oracle software creates database and its service with same name.

This pluggable database name and service name will be used for updating tnsname.ora file and configuring some network settings in it by making service entry for the pluggable database.

Question: How do we get to know which pluggable database from the list has the HR sample schema?

Answer: Generally the first pluggable database which is created during the creation of the container database (either at the time of Oracle Software installation or database creation using DBCA) consists the HR sample schema.

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

Step 2: Update tnsname.ora file

In the second step we will update tnsname.ora file and make a TNS alias for our pluggable database. In simple words we will just make an entry for our pluggable database in tnsname.ora file so that while establishing a connection listener can find the proper service and can establish connection between client and database.

This step is required just to connect hassle free with HR user after unlocking it.

First open up your TNS file. This file normally resides in the ORACLE HOME\NETWORK\ADMIN directory.

Remember in my case the name of the pluggable database is “PDBORCL” and the service name is also “pdborcl”. I will use this information to add an entry in my tnsname.ora file. 

Before making any changes in the tnsname.ora file I would suggest you to make its duplicate copy as a backup.

   (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = localhost)(PORT = 1521))
    (SERVICE_NAME = pdborcl)

A sample entry will look like this. You can change the value for hostname and port number accordingly.

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

Step3: Switch the container from CBD$ROOT to PDBORCL

As I mentioned at the starting of this blog that in Oracle database 12c the HR sample schema is the part of the pluggable database thus in order to unlock it we need to switch the container from Root CBD to Pluggable PDB (pdborcl). 

Moreover, to switch the container first you need to log on to your database using sys user again

C:\>  sqlplus  /  as  sysdba

After log in as sys you can use “Alter Session” DDL command to switch the container


You can use con_name parameter to verify whether you have successfully changed the container or not.

SQL>  SHOW  con_name;

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

Step 4: Open the pluggable database PDBORCL

As we already know that to perform any DDL such as ALTER USER command, the database needs to be opened and by default pluggable database should be in MOUNT state.

You can check the present open mode of pluggable database using v$pdbs view.

SQL>  SELECT  name,  open_mode  FROM  v$pdbs;

Furthermore, if the pluggable database PDBORCL is in the MOUNT state then you can use ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ddl command to open it.


how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

Step 5: Unlock the HR user

Now you are all set to unlock your HR user as we are done with all the necessary settings. Next in order to unlock your HR user you have to use ALTER USER DDL command


Step 6: Log in to your database using HR user

Unlike the earlier versions of Oracle database, 12c requires you to provide service name along with the login credentials of the HR user. The service entry which we created in tnsname.ora file can be specified here using @ sign followed by the username and password in the connection string.

SQL>  conn  hr/hr  @pdborcl;

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

Some Common Errors That You Can Encounter

  1. ORA- 12154: TNS: could not resolve the connect identifier specified.

Cause: Either you forgot to add a service entry in your tnsname.ora file as mentioned in Step 2 or you have supplied the wrong value of the service parameters such as SERVICE_NAME, LOCALHOST etc.

Solution: Add a service entry for your pluggable database in your tnsname.ora file as shown in step 2 or check whether the value that you have specified for parameters are correct or not.

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

  1. ORA- 01033: ORACLE initialization or shutdown in progress.

Cause: Pluggable database either Not Open or in MOUNT mode. 

Solution:First check the open mode for your pluggable database using v$pdbs view

SQL>  SELECT  name,  open_mode  FROM  v$pdbs;

If your pluggable database is not open then do it using ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ddl command as shown in step 4.

how to unlock hr user in Oracle 12c by manish sharma

That’s all guys in this section. I hope this article helps you with your Oracle Database 12c experience. Moreover kindly please share this on your social networking & help me reach out to more people. Thanks & have a great day!

HR Schema FAQ

  1. What is the default password for HR in Oracle?

    The default password of the HR schema is HR. But you can always change it using ALTER user DDL. Like this
    Make sure you execute this statement using an administrative user.

  2. What is Pdborcl?

    PDBORCL is the default pluggable database.
    As we know that, all the newer versions of the Oracle Databases are based on Multi-tenant architecture, where Databases are treated as containers. In this architecture, the top-level container is known as the root container. Whereas all the databases on the subsequent level are known as pluggable containers of that root container. PDBORCL is the default pluggable database that we create during the installation of our Oracle Database 12c.
    However, the name of default pluggable database has been changed to ORCLPDB in the subsequent versions of Oracle Database.

  3. How do you start a listener?

    So many of you have asked this question to me on my YouTube Channel. Let me answer this to you here.
    To start the listener of your Oracle Database in Microsoft Windows or Linux we use a utility called LSNRCTL.
    You simply how to write this command on your command prompt or on the Linux shell with the parameter ‘start’. Like this
    LSNRCTL start
    This command will start your listener

  4. How do I connect to Sysdba?

    SYSDBA is an Administrative Privilege. By default, this Privilege is granted to very few users. One of them is SYS. Thus, to connect with your Database using an SYSDBA privilege, you need to log in using the sys user to your database.
    Luckily, sys is also an external user. Which means we don’t need to specify the username and password when we are logging in using it. We can simply use a forward slash (/) instead of the username and the password.
    To do that you can write this statement on your Shell or Command prompt –
    SQLPLUS / AS sysdba
    This command will connect you with your Database using a sys user.