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In Unix, how do I change my password?

To safeguard your Unix account, you should change your password at least every six months. For more information on what constitutes a secure password, see Passwords and passphrases.

The Unix passwd command

The standard Unix command to change your password is:


Note: This command does not apply to most Indiana University computer accounts. For most UITS Unix computers, you need to use the Passphrase Maintenance utility to change your passphrase.

The computer will prompt you for your old password, ask for a new password, and ask that you repeat your new password for verification. You should choose a password of at least eight characters, two of which must be non-alphabetic characters. Unix is case sensitive, and UITS recommends that you use lowercase characters. This command will change the password only on the computer you are currently using.

Changing your passphrase on a UITS central system

For information about changing or resetting passphrases on UITS systems, see:

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see At IU, how do I get support for Linux or Unix?

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Last modified on August 29, 2012.

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