I have set minimum password length to 3 on my RHEL 7 system. Still while using passwd I get error:

BAD PASSWORD: The password is shorter than 5 characters.

I have changed following parameters:

In /etc/security/pwquality.conf:

minlen = 3

And in /etc/login.defs:


How passwd is getting 5 as minimum length? Which config file I am missing?


Read the manual http://linux.die.net/man/5/pwquality.conf . Minimum length cannot be set to a value lower than 6. And if credits are enabled—which is the default—the computed score can be higher than you compute yourself.

  • 1
    And the manual you refer to is this, correct? “Cannot be set to lower value than 6.” Might want to add that to your answer. – JakeGould Oct 8 '15 at 0:11
  • Can I disable the pwquality in pam module stack? – user746184 Oct 9 '15 at 15:23
  • I am not an expert in the issue, I would experiment: grep pwquality /etc/pam.d/* and you will see where pam_pwquality.so is used. /etc/pam.d/passwd controls behaviour of passwd utility, /etc/pam.d/password-auth controls the behaviour of programs that use password authentication (e.g. ssh). try removing pam_pwquality.so from the password stanzas? – Nik O'Lai Oct 9 '15 at 16:18

Tried with a fresh CentOS 7.4 install

authconfig --passminlen=12 --update

The command changes the parameter

minlen = 12



While on an older machine (wich I can no longer recover) the same command set the minimum length to 6, even if minlen was set to a higher value

Try to check if you have in /etc/pam.d

[root@host pam.d]# cat passwd
auth       include      system-auth
account    include      system-auth
password   substack     system-auth

[root@host pam.d]# cat system-auth
# This file is auto-generated.
# User changes will be destroyed the next time authconfig is run.
password    requisite     pam_pwquality.so try_first_pass local_users_only

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