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'root' user is not able to change users' password on NIS Master

This document (7023953) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15


System configured as NIS Master. The root user want to change NIS users' password using passwd command but getting: 

passwd: Failed preliminary check by password service


To fix such issue and to change NIS users' password, kindly use 'yast users'. 
When running yast users you will get the following dialog: 

│You have installed a NIS master server.     │
│It is configured to use a different database│
│of users and groups than the local system   │
│database in the /etc directory.             │
│Select which one to configure.              │
│                                            │
│(x) Local (/etc directory)                  │ 
│                                            │
│( ) NIS (/etc/nis directory)                │
│                                            │
│ [OK] [Abort]                               │

Select NIS and the select desired NIS user click on Edit and change the user's password. 


The used NIS YP Source directory is something different than /etc ; for example: /etc/nis or /var/etc ; the passwd command can only change password on /etc/shadow ; other files is not allowed. In SLES 12 the passwd command is coming from the shadow package.  This is needed to comply with SELinux and other security/government requirements.

If NIS was configured to use /etc as Source Directory then passwd will work. 

Additional Information


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7023953
  • Creation Date: 19-Jun-2019
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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