Permission denied error when trying to update a user’s password: passwd

We’re now talking about a rare or some common error encountered by sys admins or network peeps in office or say at home doing there daily chores on there respected Linux box. Here is what I’ve found as per my readers request:

When I try to run

sudo passwd USERNAME

I get the error:

root@hostname:~# sudo passwd USERNAME passwd:Permission denied passwd:password unchanged root@hostname:~#

When I try to do the steps for the “The Drastic Measures”, I notice that the shadow file does not show what would usually indicate an encrypted password for the user. Hence it becomes impossible for me in order to change or set a new password like.


vi /etc/pam.d/common-password
password        [success=3 default=ignore] obscure sha512

Change it to “success=2”


By Akash Angle

I am a Full time Linux user who has quit using Windows for unknown reasons, making my life truly open source.

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