OpenWindows Advanced User's Guide

5.1 Using a Password

For the sake of your system's security, SunOS requires the use of a password for your system. Changing your password several times a year helps to ensure that you are the only user with easy access to your account. If you believe someone has used your account without your permission, change your password immediately.

When choosing a password, keep the following in mind:

5.1.1 Changing Your Password

To change your personal password, type the passwd command:

$ passwd
Changing password for hankw on worker
Old password:
New password:
Retype new password:

  1. When the system prompts you for Old Password:, type your current password.

    (If no password is currently assigned to your account, the system will skip the Old Password: prompt.) Note that the system does not echo (display) your password on the screen. This prevents other users from discovering your password.

  2. When the system prompts you for New Password:, type the password you've decided on.

    Again, the password you type does not echo on the screen.

  3. At the final prompt, Retype new password:, type your new password a second time.

    This is to verify that you typed exactly what you intended to type.

    If you don't enter your password precisely the way you did at the previous prompt, the system refuses to change your password and responds with Sorry. If this happens repeatedly, contact your system administrator to get a new password.

    Note -

    Passwords containing fewer than six characters are not allowed. Also, a new password must differ from the old password by at least three characters.

5.1.2 Password Aging

If your system is using password aging (implemented with options to the passwd command), your password may have either a maximum, or a maximum and minimum lifespan. The lifespan of your password is set by your system administrator.

When the maturity date (or maximum age) of your password is reached, you are prompted to change your password. This occurs when you log in. The following is displayed:

Your password has expired. Choose a new one.

The system then automatically runs the passwd program and prompts you for a new password.

If, for example, the minimum age of your password has been set for two weeks, and you try to change your password before that time has elapsed, the following is displayed:

Sorry, less than 2 weeks since the last change.

To view aging information for your password, use the -d option to the passwd command:

$ passwd -d
username 2-14-92 14 60

The display shows, in order, the date the current password was created, the minimum age, and the maximum age. (This information appears only if password aging has been implemented.)

For more information on passwd(1) and password aging, refer to the man Pages(1): User Commands.