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A server under my control recently was recovered after suffering hardware failure. We seem to have successfully retained all data, however no one has been able to actually sign in to the server locally or remotely, including those with root access.

We use a rather strict password changing and account expiry schedule that unfortunately overlapped with the period it had been not functioning. We initially received errors about account expiry, but after I changed the expiry date of my username and reset the password with a bootable USB drive but I still received permission denied errors and the local login screen rejecting my password after resolving those. Another server with the same configuration that was set up recently is not having these issues, which suggests it's some problem with the user accounts and the downtime period. What troubleshooting steps or potential causes/solutions would you expect or suggest?

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  • Boot that system from a RescueCD, chroot to it and repair? Oct 28, 2020 at 4:44
  • If you touched it with a rescue disk that didn't support SELinux (or had it disabled) the /etc/shadow file might have the wrong SELinux attributes. Try disabling selinux on the kernel command line temporarily by editing the grub command line and adding selinux=0. Fix it once you can log in.
    – jsbillings
    Oct 28, 2020 at 18:38

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Check permission of $HOME and ~/.ssh must be, 0700 (rwx----)

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