How can I prevent users from changing their passwords? I still want to be able to change the passwords as root if necessary but keep the user from changing their password.

  • This question may be useful Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 0:55
  • Chmod the passwd command so that only you can execute it
    – Mawg
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 1:24
  • Why would you want to lower user security?
    – mdpc
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 2:40
  • @mdpc I don't. I plan on changing the password periodically, but I need it to be changed by me because it is a shared account and I don't want someone to change the password without the other people who have access being notified.
    – Vreality
    Commented Feb 10, 2013 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


Do chmod go-rx /usr/bin/passwd Normal users can then not run passwd. If you want some users to be able to, you can put them in a special group perhaps.

  • Would this still work? cp /usr/bin/passwd . ; chmod +x ./passwd ; ./passwd
    – f.ardelian
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 16:00
  • 2
    @f.ardelian The thing is, passwd has some special magic called "setuid" on it - that means that when someone runs the file, they're running it as its owner (namely, root.) This allows normal users to change the /etc/shadow file containing the passwords. If you were to copy the file to a user's home directory, it would no longer be setuid, and therefore no longer be automatically run with root priviledges. To learn more, look up information about "Unix permissions" and "setuid". Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 22:03
  • 1
    @JamesTheAwesomeDude Thanks, that was very informative!
    – f.ardelian
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 4:53

passwd -n 9999 user will prevent user from changing his password for almost 274 years.

If you want to have passwordless user, which is unable to change his password, open /etc/shadow as root, find the line which begins with the name of the user, and change the content between first and second colon to U6aMy0wojraho.
(source: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PasswordlessGuestAccount)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .