I manually edited /etc/passwd for non-root user - yeah, I know this is bad. Unfortunately I saw this (SSH failing authentication after manual edit of /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow) very late. I already recovered /etc/passwd to previous state, but something strange is happening on the server, for example:

useradd some_user

doesn't create home directory for this user, and doesn't ask about it password, authorization for old user is not working. I hope someone already encountered such a problem. P.S. I use Debian


See the manpage for adduser:

useradd is a low level utility for adding users. On Debian, administrators should usually use adduser(8) instead.


useradd doesn't create the user's home directory by default, nor does it ask for a password. You can pass the -m flag to create the home directory, and just run passwd after creation to set the password.

man useradd will tell you more, obviously.


next time if you must edit /etc/passwd use

  • it will verify things are ok.. same with sudo.. visudo – Mike Mar 23 '13 at 18:34

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