Situation: Poking around some system files in /etc/

Problem: I managed to accidentally rm-ed some files, including /etc/pam.d/password-auth and /etc/pam.d/system-auth (don't ask...)

Question: What are the ramifications (if any) of removing such files? I dare not log out or reboot for now.

Additional information: Machine is running CentOS 7. Will also be interested to know ramifications on top of just replacing the files.

  • 2
    Don't log out. Don't reboot. Please tell us exactly what version of Unix or the distribution of Linux you're using, so someone can tell you where/how to get those files back Oct 27, 2020 at 7:13
  • @roaima updated my question. It's CentOS 7 Oct 27, 2020 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


Assuming you've still got root, this will restore the two files you've named

cd /etc/pam.d
ln -s password-auth-ac password-auth
ln -s system-auth-ac system-auth

Test by using a new session to login with ssh. (If necessary, ssh localhost from the machine itself.) If the login succeeds then you've fixed it - without these files you cannot authenticate or authorise any session for any work. (In the /etc/pam.d directory you can grep -l system-auth * and grep -l password-auth * to see which services were affected. It makes for unpleasant reading.)


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