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Date:      Mon, 9 Jul 2007 16:30:38 -0500
From:      David Kelly <>
To:        Chuck Swiger <>
Cc:, Peter Boosten <>
Subject:   Re: password failure- after mergmaster
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <>

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On Mon, Jul 09, 2007 at 01:29:44PM -0700, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> On Jul 9, 2007, at 1:25 PM, Peter Boosten wrote:
> >
> >Having read this I must admit that it's a complete mystery to me why
> >mergemaster would touch your password file at all...
> Because sometimes new versions of the OS come with new built-in user  
> accounts, which need to be added to the existing passwd or groups  
> databases somehow?

Yes, exactly. Have to *merge* the changes into /etc/master.passwd rather
than brute force overwrite.

Notice the difference from my first post in this thread, the file which
was clobbered is /etc/master.passwd, not just /etc/passwd which is a
dummy file generated from master.passwd.

In single user he can "mount -a" to get all the filesystems mounted
read/write, then extract /etc/master.passwd file from his level 0 dump.
But once again it needs to be diff'ed against the "new" version written
by mergemaster to see why mergemaster changed it.

Then the password databases need to be rebuilt. The easiest way (and
only way I remember without manpage surfing) is to run vipw and
trivially change the master password file. On exit vipw rebuilds the
password databases with pwd_mkdb(8) (I had to look that up).

David Kelly N4HHE,
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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