passwd authentication token manipulation error

If you try to reinitialize the root passwd of your Linux installation through a recovering boot with init=/bin/sh, you may have  the following error message :

passwd: Authentication token manipulation error

First check if your / filesystem is mounted read-write or read-only. Restart your machine and at the Grub prompt (tested on a fresh install of RHEL 6.2 with Grub version of 0.97), change ro to rw as indicated below :

kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.32-220.el6-x86_64 ro root=/dev/mapper….

kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.32-220.el6-x86_64 rw root=/dev/mapper….


An other solution is to make sure that the content of /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow are  the same with the pwconv command.

As root, before reinitializing again its passwd, run the command below :

root@localhost:~# pwconv


root@localhost~# passwd

You should have no more error message.



8 thoughts on “passwd authentication token manipulation error

  1. Hello,

    I am know little about computers and even less about ubuntu (my new OS).

    While trying to change a forgotten keyring password i got the passwd: Authentication token manipulation error.

    I tried your second solution (which didn’t work) but I didn’t try your first one because i don’t really know what you are talking about, could you post a step by step guide to how to fix this problem. That would be very helpful thank you.

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