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login fails after upgrade from SLES 11 SP4 or older SLES 12 to newer SLES version

This document (000019703) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


​​​​​SUSE Linux Enterprise Server SLES 15


Users cannot login to the system after upgrading from SLES 11 SP4 or older SLES 12 to a newer version of SLES.

An example for root login failure:



There's a need to replace to in module name field in PAM configuration.

No login works after boot

If no login works after boot then reboot the system and boot it with following kernel boot parameters:
rd.break=initrd-switch-root rw

Since there's no PAM configuration in initramfs the problem related to won't be effective, but one still needs root password to enter dracut shell. The root filesystem after login as root into dracut shell will be mounted r/w at /sysroot. The following command would replace to in root filesystem:
/sysroot/usr/bin/grep -lR /sysroot/etc/pam.{conf,d/} | /sysroot/usr/bin/xargs -I '{}' /sysroot/usr/bin/sed -i 's/' '{}'

Then typing 'exit' would make the boot continue and work as expected.

From a working system

PAM switch from pam_unix2 to  pam_unix as this :
find /etc/pam.d/ -type f -exec sed -i -e "s/pam_unix2/pam_unix/g" {} \;


  1. The cause is related to switch from, which is deprecated and has issues with systemd, to PAM module.

An example from logs about root login failure related to
2022-05-11708:49:22.211930+02:00 linux login: PAM unable to dlopen(/lib64/security/pam /lib64/security/pam
cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
2022-05-11708:49:22.212093+02:00 linux login: PAM adding faulty module: /lib64/security/
2022-05-11108:49:22.217637+02:00 linux login: FAILED LOGIN SESSION FROM tty1 FOR root, Module is unknown



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  • Document ID:000019703
  • Creation Date: 14-Sep-2020
  • Modified Date:15-Mar-2023
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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