Is there a way to replace password lock screen in Linux (Mint Debian Edition) with a pin lock screen? Like the one found in Windows 8 for example. It's annoying/inconvenient to have to input 16 character-long passwords every time I lock my computer, and insecure to decrease the password length to a pin-friendly length.

Clarification: Pin: 4 character-long password that's used only in the lock screen. i.e. the regular user password to execute functions is still the same throughout the OS (for security).

  • 1
    Sure. Write a screen-locker that uses a PIN. Of course, since it won't use PAM, you'll need to do your own crypto work. Such a lock screen is fundamentally and in everyway less secure than your standard lock screen (which might be why there's less demand for this than you might think).
    – HalosGhost
    Jul 30 '14 at 4:48
  • 1
    @HalosGhost that's not required; you can have different programs use different passwords via PAM. See for example my answer here unix.stackexchange.com/questions/94626/…
    – derobert
    Jul 30 '14 at 5:05
  • @derobert, fascinating. I honestly did not know that was possible. Thanks for the info!
    – HalosGhost
    Jul 30 '14 at 5:08
  • @HalosGhost I can't tell whether you're saying it exists or it doesn't! Also, I'm not a developer, I'd need a ready, third-party solution. I do understand that it is less secure, that's why this needs to work only on the lock screen and not as my root/user password. I understand the risks, I'm just asking if it can be done in current Linux system (LMDE specifically)
    – Mars
    Jul 30 '14 at 5:09
  • I think a reasonable scheme can be devised such as allowing only 2 PIN attempts before rejecting all further PIN attempts and forcing the full password. Jun 28 '16 at 0:45

You can do this via PAM configuration. For example, if you use XScreenSaver, you'd edit /etc/pam.d/xscreensaver and change the @include common-auth line.

Rather than repeat all the details, I'll point you to my answer to Set sudo password differently from login one. The procedure is almost exactly the same, except that you'll be editing the PAM config for your screensaver, instead of sudo.

Then you can set your PIN as your screensaver password.

  • Thanks I tried doing this now, but I couldn't. This will need a lot of Googling for me, I'll be doing it later in free time.
    – Mars
    Jul 30 '14 at 22:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.