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I was editing the passwd file with vipw, when I briefly lost internet connectivity. When I logged back in and tried to edit again I get the error:

vipw: Couldn't lock file: Interrupted system call
vipw: /etc/passwd is unchanged

I'm assuming this means the passwd file is still locked from the interruped time I was editing it. How can I fix this?

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ls -l /etc/.pwd.lock or strace -e open vipw, after that you can delete the lock file – c4f4t0r Mar 9 '14 at 14:03
Thanks. I removed the .pwd.lock and passwd.lock files and that did it. Put you comment as an answer, and I'll mark it as the answer. – LoneWolfPR Mar 9 '14 at 14:14
this is one of the reasons I use tmux – Michael Martinez Apr 1 '14 at 22:47
up vote 9 down vote accepted

You need to check if the /etc/.pwd.lock exists and if it's there rm /etc/.pwd.lock In this way you can solve your issue

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