HowTo: Change Password of Specific User Account In Linux

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Hdo I change passwords for specific user account under Linux operating system using the command line?

You need to use the passwd command to changes the user’s password.

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Rules for changing passwords for user accounts

  1. A normal user may only change the password for his/her own account.
  2. The superuser (root user) may change the password for any account or specific account.
  3. The passwd command also changes the account or associated password validity period.

First, login as the root user. Use sudo -s or su - command to login as root. To change password of specific user account, use the following syntax:

passwd userNameHere

To change the password for user called vivek, enter:
# passwd vivek
Sample outputs:

Change Users Local Linux Password Command Line
Fig.01: passwd command in action

To see password status of any user account, enter:
# passwd -S userNameHere
# passwd -S vivek

Sample outputs:

vivek P 05/05/2012 0 99999 7 -1

The status information consists of 7 fields as follows:

  1. vivek : Account login name (username)
  2. P : This field indicates if the user account has a locked password (L), has no password (NP), or has a usable password (P)
  3. 05/05/2012 : Date of the last password change.
  4. 0 : Password expiry minimum age
  5. 99999 : Password expiry maximum age.
  6. 7 : Password expiry warning period.
  7. -1 : Inactivity period for the password (see chage command for more information).

To get more info about password aging for a specific user called vivek, enter:
# chage -l vivek

Chage command
Fig.01: chage command in action

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Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

7 comment

  1. passwd

    U will prompted for password and U can change it! If you are doing it for somebody else, U need to be root!

  2. Tried same, below is output, didn’t got “PS”
    [root@externvlab1280 ~]# passwd -S bhushan
    bhushan PS 2012-10-11 10 90 7 -1 (Password set, SHA512 crypt.)

    1. $ passwd
      this will prompt u to input the current password and then prompt u to change to the new password

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