When setting up a new Ubuntu 14 PC for a Standard User using a local System Admin account, I’ve used the following command in order to make their password expire after 30 days:

sudo chage –M 30 [username]

However, upon expiry you can’t seem to change it from the login screen. Whatever you enter, no matter how strong or random, results in incorrect password or password not strong enough errors. The only way round it is to log on as System Admin and change the password there.

Does anyone know how to make it work for the Standard User from the login screen, so the System Admin doesn’t need to get involved?

I've noticed that there is a bug documented here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity-control-center/+bug/1318199 which seems to focus on the password not being strong enough and that the GUI works differently to a shell using passwd. However, when the password expires I don't see a strength meter so not sure whether it's related.

The version I'm installing is Ubuntu 14.04 with all the latest updates.

Thanks in advance,


  • Did you try to change the pam_unix settings for password strenght? – Ivan Temchenko Feb 29 '16 at 9:59
  • @IvanTemchenko No, will give that a go this afternoon. Is there a seperate setting for password strength just for when it's expired? i.e. we have no issue setting the password the first time around. – Adam Holmes Feb 29 '16 at 10:10
  • 1
    I'm not sure if passwd uses those settings... – Ivan Temchenko Feb 29 '16 at 10:16

In the Bugreport that you linked, there is one comment that explained why some people could not login at all (maybe similar to your problem). The solution for that is to install cracklib-runtime with the default cracklib dictionary of /usr/share/dict/cracklib-small. According to that guy, libpam-pwquality depends on it but it is not listed as a dependency, which causes the check whether a password is strong enough to always fail.


For me I found I had to set the password to some expletive I would never use for a password and then change it a second time to what I wanted.

I discovered the reason was my new password I wanted to use had similar characters or patterns in the old password, and that the password strength? has now been updated/upgraded to check for this...don't know when this happen or remember a notice on this?...but seems to be true none the less.

Overall, after beating my head trying to find a fix, there was not fix, but a different method to go about it.

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