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I am logging in to my Ubuntu Server using my username. Once I am logged in I am typing passwd command. Entering a new password but a second after getting following error messages:

passwd: Authentication token manipulation error
passwd: password unchanged

What is wrong here? How can I change my password otherwise if I don't have access to that server physically, i.e. I am connecting remotely with ssh using terminal.

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The first prompt asks for your CURRENT password. Have you done that, cause if you just typed the new one, you'll get the error message you say.. –  Pavlos G. Aug 18 '11 at 14:03
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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you insert the wrong passwd

$ passwd
Changing password for rinzwind.
(current) UNIX password: 
passwd: Authentication token manipulation error
passwd: password unchanged

you get this error. If you are sure to have inserted the correct one this error might also show up if you are using shadowed password files and the shadow doesn’t have entry for this user (basically/etc/passwd has an entry for this user, but /etc/shadow does not).

In order to fix this, you can either add the entry manually (make a backup first!!!) or recreate the shadow file with pwconv (Manpage).

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Do this two things just to make sure:

mount -o remount,rw /

Then do this

chmod 640 /etc/shadow

Then do the sudo passwd USER. It should work after that.

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I'm not sure how it happened. A sudo user created my account then deleted it then created it again.

Here is what I found

mount -o remount,rw /
passwd
passwd: Authentication token manipulation error

No change.

sudo pwck

Showed no errors.

sudo grpck

Showed no errors.

ls -l /etc/passwd /etc/group /etc/shadow /etc/shadow-
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root    767 May  7 16:45 /etc/group
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   1380 May  7 16:45 /etc/passwd
-rw-r----- 1 root shadow 1025 May  8 09:11 /etc/shadow
-rw------- 1 root root   1025 May  7 16:46 /etc/shadow-

Looks normal.

sudo cat /etc/shadow |grep oracle
oracle:$6$FsPqyplr$DrIvjFDSx0ipHmECMw1AU5hTrbNMnnkGRdFlaQcM.p3Rdu2OLjY20tzUTW61HlFH16cal56rKlLuW4j2mK9D.:15833:0:99999:7:::

Showed user and encrypted password.

sudo cat /etc/shadow- |grep oracle

Showed nothing. Not sure what that means but doesn't look right.

sudo passwd -d oracle
passwd

So the solution was to delete the password then reset new password.

Hope this helps.

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Also, ensure that your entry in /etc/passwd is not mal-formed. If you have the incorrect number of colons in the line for your user entry, the 'passwd' command cannot parse it and refuses to continue with the exact error message provided.

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Another problem might be that the disk is full. I got this error when resetting a password, and later checked my disks with df and found that no space is available on my disk. After freeing some I could reset the password without problems.

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