A couple of days ago I posted an entry about an issue I'd run into reseting the SYSDBA password. Today I noticed my hits had jumped, checking my refer log I noticed a lot from Peter Finnigan's blog, he'd posted an entry linking to the post.
In the entry he says that, if true, it was interesting. I don't know about interesting, but it's definately a true record of what happened. I'd be suprised if I'm the first person to run into this issue.
I did recieve a comment to the entry (from an anonymous user) saying that you have to shutdown the database before recreating the password file. I don't recall ever reading that or hearing it mentioned on a course, could be true or it could be one of the many Oracle myths going around. I found an example on orafaq.com that does include shutting down the database (after recreating the password file) but also talks about changing REMOTE_LOGIN_PASSWORDFILE in the init.ora file, which would require a database restart.
It is troubling that changing the password in the password file isn't immediately reflected in a running instance. If you're changing the password then, unless it's a scheduled prophylactic change, it's likely because you know or believe someone has the password who shouldn't have or you need to set a throwaway password to allow a consultant short term access then change back when they're done. In either case you want the password to be changed immediately and not requiring a database restart. In my experience getting the business to agree a database restart on a production system is like trying to get a straight answer from Oracle Marketing.