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I used the 'useradd' command to create a new account, but I did so without specifying the password. Now, when the user tries to log in, it asks him for a password. If I didn't set it up initially, how do I set the password now?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

Easiest way to do this from the command line is to use the passwd command with root privileges.

passwd username

From man 1 passwd

       passwd - update user's authentication token
       passwd  [-k]  [-l]  [-u [-f]] [-d] [-n mindays] [-x maxdays]
       [-w warndays] [-i inactivedays] [-S] [--stdin] [username]
       The passwd utility is used to update user's authentication token(s).

After you set the user password, you can force the user to change it on next login using the chage command (also with root privileges) which expires the password.

chage -d 0 username

When the user successfully authenticates with the password you set, the user will automatically be prompted to change it. After a successful password change, the user will be disconnected, forcing re-authentication with the new password.

See man 1 chage for more information on password expiry.

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Oh... ok! :) That's simple enough... I thought passwd only resets one's own account. – Paul Jul 5 '12 at 18:25
If you leave off a username, it defaults to your account. – uther Jul 5 '12 at 18:27

It's fairly simple. From the command line issue either

sudo passwd USERNAME

and you'll be prompted to change the users password. You may also su to the user in question and then run 'passwd'

Useradd doesn't ask for password. adduser does.

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After adding new user if you are loggedin as a 'root' then you can set the password using command

passwd <username>

Or, if you are not root, you can run

sudo passwd <username>

To set the password.

Or if you are root then you can 'su' to the user and run 'passwd' to set the password.

su <username>
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Also if you can login as the user you want to change the password of, login as that user and type passwd. – eyoung100 Sep 18 '14 at 18:10

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