So, I have a little server colocated a few thousand miles away. I changed the username of my user account using vipw.

However, I did not realize that the UID did not carry sudoers privilege.

Now, I have no way of running any commands that require root access. I can't change my username because there is only one account on the system you can't change the username of an active account with usermod and I have no way of running vipw.

All I need to do is change the username back to what it was before, and I should be good to go.

Any ideas on how to do this?


Please no lectures. In all my years of running servers, I have never had a set-up quite like this particular server and I missed what should have been obvious.


Some possibilities I can think of:

  • Restore a backup of /etc/passwd, assuming you have some automated process to do it.
  • Have someone boot the server from a cd/USB stick and change it back.
  • Have someone mail the hdd to you.

I don't think you can do it from inside, without root. Would make sudo pretty useless otherwise.

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