FreeBSD Change User Password Shell Script

by on May 31, 2009 · 6 comments· LAST UPDATED June 17, 2009

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How do I change user password using a shell script under FreeBSD operating systems?

You need to use the -h fd option for pw command. It provides a special interface by which interactive scripts can set an account password using pw. Because the command line and environment are fundamentally insecure mechanisms by which programs can accept information, pw will only allow setting of account and group passwords via a file descriptor (usually a pipe between an interactive script and the program). sh, bash, ksh and perl all possess mechanisms by which this can be done. Linux / UNIX should able to use passwd command or perl script to do the same.

Task: Add User And Set A Password

Add a new user called vivek with password called topSecrete:
# echo PASSWORD | pw add user USERNAME -h 0
# echo topSecrete | pw add user vivek -h 0

Task: Modify Existing User Password

Change the password for a user called chitra
# echo newPassword | pw mod user chitra -h 0

A Sample Shell Script To Change User Password

echo -n "Username : "
read user
echo "Password : "
read -n passwd
echo ${passwd} | ${PW} add user ${user} -m -s ${SHELL} -h 0 >/dev/null 2>&1
if [ $? -eq 0 ]
	echo "User added to the system."
	echo "Failed to add user to the system."
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aneesh Kumar. E.P June 1, 2009 at 9:02 am

Hi all,

How can i achieve the same thing in centos system. When I tried i couldn’t find the pw in my system. I have to download the rpm but i failed to find a rpm for pw command. Please help me


2 Shoaibi June 1, 2009 at 10:19 am

hmmm…. spell mistake at line 13:
“Add a bew user” => “Add a new user”


3 nixCraft June 1, 2009 at 10:40 am

@Aneesh See this post

@Shoaibi: thanks for the heads-up!


4 chr15 June 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Aneesh Kumar. E.P,

you should try something like this:

useradd -m -d /home/$USER -s $SHELL $USER >/dev/null 2>&1
echo -n $PASSWORD | passwd –stdin $USER


5 Aneesh Kumar. E.P June 2, 2009 at 7:06 am

Thank you for valuable help. i have solved my problem.

Thank you all


6 syed July 25, 2009 at 2:19 am

solved you problem.


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