So I'm in a Linux OS class at the moment. We're playing around with ACLs, users, groups, etc. very rudimentary stuff.

I (clearly) messed something up, and I'm not sure what the issue is. Every time I sign in to my user, I get returned to the list of available users - if I type the correct password in. If I type an incorrect password in, I am simply told 'Sorry, that didn't work. Please try again.' as expected.

I haven't been able to find any solutions to this issue as a result of some basic googling, and I'd like to know if there's an answer other than wipe my machine and re-install CentOS.


  • If you made your home directory unwriteable (by changing its permissions, or its owner) then you may not be able to log in to an X session, since it tries to write a .Xauthority file there. You should still be able to log in to a CLI session (either via SSH, if it is enabled, or via one of the CLI virtual terminals Ctrl-Alt-F2 etc.). Fix it from there. – steeldriver Mar 12 at 23:13
  • Did you possibly edit a file with a name that begins with . (such as .profile, .bashrc, .login, .bash_profile, etc.)? If you added an exit command (or something that causes a severe error) to one of those files, you will be logged in, and then the system with believe that you logged out immediately. Ask one of your classmates to look in your home directory, if it’s publicly readable. You may need to get an administrator to fix it. Or, if you can access your directory with FTP, try renaming all your . files to “hold” versions; then you should be able to login and fix them. – G-Man Mar 12 at 23:45

I figured it out, and it's quite embarassing.

I was screwing around, creating & removing users - my original user account was named (firstletter first name) + (last name). I had also created (last name). I deleted (firstletter first name) + (last name) while trying to delete (last name).

I signed in to root directly and re-created my original user account. Problem solved.


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