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PW(8)			  BSD System Manager's Manual			 PW(8)

     pw	-- create, remove, modify & display system users and groups

     pw	[-V etcdir] useradd [name|uid] [-C config] [-q]	[-n name] [-u uid]
	[-c comment] [-d dir] [-e date]	[-p date] [-g group] [-G grouplist]
	[-m] [-k dir] [-w method] [-s shell] [-o] [-L class] [-h fd | -H fd]
	[-N] [-P] [-Y]
     pw	[-V etcdir] useradd [name|uid] -D [-C config] [-q] [-b dir] [-e	days]
	[-p days] [-g group] [-G grouplist] [-k	dir] [-u min,max] [-i min,max]
	[-w method] [-s	shell] [-y path]
     pw	[-V etcdir] userdel [name|uid] [-n name] [-u uid] [-r] [-Y]
     pw	[-V etcdir] usermod [name|uid] [-C config] [-q]	[-n name] [-u uid]
	[-c comment] [-d dir] [-e date]	[-p date] [-g group] [-G grouplist]
	[-l name] [-m] [-k dir]	[-w method] [-s	shell] [-L class]
	[-h fd | -H fd]	[-N] [-P] [-Y]
     pw	[-V etcdir] usershow [name|uid]	[-n name] [-u uid] [-F]	[-P] [-7] [-a]
     pw	[-V etcdir] usernext [-C config] [-q]
     pw	[-V etcdir] groupadd [group|gid] [-C config] [-q] [-n group] [-g gid]
	[-M members] [-o] [-h fd | -H fd] [-N] [-P] [-Y]
     pw	[-V etcdir] groupdel [group|gid] [-n name] [-g gid] [-Y]
     pw	[-V etcdir] groupmod [group|gid] [-C config] [-q] [-n name] [-g	gid]
	[-l name] [-M members] [-m newmembers] [-h fd |	-H fd] [-N] [-P] [-Y]
     pw	[-V etcdir] groupshow [group|gid] [-n name] [-g	gid] [-F] [-P] [-a]
     pw	[-V etcdir] groupnext [-C config] [-q]
     pw	[-V etcdir] lock [name|uid] [-C	config]	[-q]
     pw	[-V etcdir] unlock [name|uid] [-C config] [-q]

     The pw utility is a command-line based editor for the system user and
     group files, allowing the superuser an easy to use	and standardized way
     of	adding,	modifying and removing users and groups.  Note that pw only
     operates on the local user	and group files.  NIS users and	groups must be
     maintained	on the NIS server.  The	pw utility handles updating the
     passwd, master.passwd, group and the secure and insecure password data-
     base files, and must be run as root.

     The first one or two keywords provided to pw on the command line provide
     the context for the remainder of the arguments.  The keywords user	and
     group may be combined with	add, del, mod, show, or	next in	any order.
     (For example, showuser, usershow, show user, and user show	all mean the
     same thing.)  This	flexibility is useful for interactive scripts calling
     pw	for user and group database manipulation.  Following these keywords,
     you may optionally	specify	the user or group name or numeric id as	an al-
     ternative to using	the -n name, -u	uid, -g	gid options.

     The following flags are common to most or all modes of operation:

     -V	etcdir	   This	flag sets an alternate location	for the	password,
		   group and configuration files, and may be used to maintain
		   a user/group	database in an alternate location.  If this
		   switch is specified,	the system /etc/pw.conf	will not be
		   sourced for default configuration data, but the file
		   pw.conf in the specified directory will be used instead (or
		   none, if it does not	exist).	 The -C	flag may be used to
		   override this behaviour.  As	an exception to	the general
		   rule	where options must follow the operation	type, the -V
		   flag	may be used on the command line	before the operation

     -C	config	   By default, pw reads	the file /etc/pw.conf to obtain	policy
		   information on how new user accounts	and groups are to be
		   created.  The -C option specifies a different configuration
		   file.  While	most of	the contents of	the configuration file
		   may be overridden via command-line options, it may be more
		   convenient to keep standard information in a	configuration

     -q		   Use of this option causes pw	to suppress error messages,
		   which may be	useful in interactive environments where it is
		   preferable to interpret status codes	returned by pw rather
		   than	messing	up a carefully formatted display.

     -N		   This	option is available in add and modify operations, and
		   tells pw to output the result of the	operation without up-
		   dating the user or group databases.	You may	use the	-P op-
		   tion	to switch between standard passwd and readable for-

     -Y		   Using this option with any of the update modes causes pw to
		   run make(1) after changing to the directory /var/yp.	 This
		   is intended to allow	automatic updating of NIS database
		   files.  If separate passwd and group	files are being	used
		   by NIS, then	use the	-y path	option to specify the location
		   of the NIS passwd database so that pw will concurrently up-
		   date	it with	the system password databases.

     The following options apply to the	useradd	and usermod commands:

     -n	name	   Specify the user/account name.

     -u	uid	   Specify the user/account numeric id.

		   Usually, you	only need to provide one or the	other of these
		   options, as the account name	will imply the uid, or vice
		   versa.  However, there are times when you need to provide
		   both.  For example, when changing the uid of	an existing
		   user	with usermod, or overriding the	default	uid when cre-
		   ating a new account.	 If you	wish pw	to automatically allo-
		   cate	the uid	to a new user with useradd, then you should
		   not use the -u option.  You may also	provide	either the ac-
		   count or userid immediately after the useradd, userdel,
		   usermod or usershow keywords	on the command line without
		   using the -n	or -u options.

     -c	comment	   This	field sets the contents	of the passwd GECOS field,
		   which normally contains up to four comma-separated fields
		   containing the user's full name, office or location,	and
		   work	and home phone numbers.	 These sub-fields are used by
		   convention only, however, and are optional.	If this	field
		   is to contain spaces, you need to quote the comment itself
		   with	double quotes `"'.  Avoid using	commas in this field
		   as these are	used as	sub-field separators, and the colon
		   `:' character also cannot be	used as	this is	the field sep-
		   arator for the passwd file itself.

     -d	dir	   This	option sets the	account's home directory.  Normally,
		   you will only use this if the home directory	is to be dif-
		   ferent from the default determined from /etc/pw.conf	- nor-
		   mally /home with the	account	name as	a subdirectory.

     -e	date	   Set the account's expiration	date.  Format of the date is
		   either a UNIX time in decimal, or a date in `dd-mmm-yy[yy]'
		   format, where dd is the day,	mmm is the month, either in
		   numeric or alphabetic format	('Jan',	'Feb', etc) and	year
		   is either a two or four digit year.	This option also ac-
		   cepts a relative date in the	form `+n[mhdwoy]' where	`n' is
		   a decimal, octal (leading 0)	or hexadecimal (leading	0x)
		   digit followed by the number	of Minutes, Hours, Days,
		   Weeks, Months or Years from the current date	at which the
		   expiration date is to be set.

     -p	date	   Set the account's password expiration date.	This field is
		   similar to the account expiration date option, except that
		   it applies to forced	password changes.  This	is set in the
		   same	manner as the -e option.

     -g	group	   Set the account's primary group to the given	group.	group
		   may be defined by either its	name or	group number.

     -G	grouplist  Set additional group	memberships for	an account.  grouplist
		   is a	comma-separated	list of	group names or group numbers.
		   The user's name is added to the group lists in /etc/group,
		   and removed from any	groups not specified in	grouplist.
		   Note: a user	should not be added to their primary group
		   with	grouplist.  Also, group	membership changes do not take
		   effect for current user login sessions, requiring the user
		   to reconnect	to be affected by the changes.

     -L	class	   This	option sets the	login class for	the user being cre-
		   ated.  See login.conf(5) and	passwd(5) for more information
		   on user login classes.

     -m		   This	option instructs pw to attempt to create the user's
		   home	directory.  While primarily useful when	adding a new
		   account with	useradd, this may also be of use when moving
		   an existing user's home directory elsewhere on the file
		   system.  The	new home directory is populated	with the con-
		   tents of the	skeleton directory, which typically contains a
		   set of shell	configuration files that the user may person-
		   alize to taste.  When -m is used on an account with
		   usermod, existing configuration files in the	user's home
		   directory are not overwritten from the skeleton files.

		   When	a user's home directory	is created, it will by default
		   be a	subdirectory of	the basehome directory as specified by
		   the -b option (see below), bearing the name of the new ac-
		   count.  This	can be overridden by the -d option on the com-
		   mand	line, if desired.

     -k	dir	   Set the skeleton directory, from which basic	startup	and
		   configuration files are copied when the user's home direc-
		   tory	is created.  This option only has meaning when used
		   with	the -d or -m flags.

     -s	shell	   Set or changes the user's login shell to shell.  If the
		   path	to the shell program is	omitted, pw searches the
		   shellpath specified in /etc/pw.conf and fills it in as ap-
		   propriate.  Note that unless	you have a specific reason to
		   do so, you should avoid specifying the path - this will al-
		   low pw to validate that the program exists and is exe-
		   cutable.  Specifying	a full path (or	supplying a blank ""
		   shell) avoids this check and	allows for such	entries	as
		   /nonexistent	that should be set for accounts	not intended
		   for interactive login.

     -h	fd	   This	option provides	a special interface by which interac-
		   tive	scripts	can set	an account password using pw.  Because
		   the command line and	environment are	fundamentally insecure
		   mechanisms by which programs	can accept information,	pw
		   will	only allow setting of account and group	passwords via
		   a file descriptor (usually a	pipe between an	interactive
		   script and the program).  sh, bash, ksh and perl all	pos-
		   sess	mechanisms by which this can be	done.  Alternatively,
		   pw will prompt for the user's password if -h	0 is given,
		   nominating stdin as the file	descriptor on which to read
		   the password.  Note that this password will be read only
		   once	and is intended	for use	by a script rather than	for
		   interactive use.  If	you wish to have new password confir-
		   mation along	the lines of passwd(1),	this must be imple-
		   mented as part of an	interactive script that	calls pw.

		   If a	value of `-' is	given as the argument fd, then the
		   password will be set	to `*',	rendering the account inacces-
		   sible via password-based login.

     -H	fd	   Read	an encrypted password string from the specified	file
		   descriptor.	This is	like -h, but the password should be
		   supplied already encrypted in a form	suitable for writing
		   directly to the password database.

     It	is possible to use useradd to create a new account that	duplicates an
     existing user id.	While this is normally considered an error and will be
     rejected, the -o option overrides the check for duplicates	and allows the
     duplication of the	user id.  This may be useful if	you allow the same
     user to login under different contexts (different group allocations, dif-
     ferent home directory, different shell) while providing basically the
     same permissions for access to the	user's files in	each account.

     The useradd command also has the ability to set new user and group	de-
     faults by using the -D option.  Instead of	adding a new user, pw writes a
     new set of	defaults to its	configuration file, /etc/pw.conf.  When	using
     the -D option, you	must not use either -n name or -u uid or an error will
     result.  Use of -D	changes	the meaning of several command line switches
     in	the useradd command.  These are:

     -D		   Set default values in /etc/pw.conf configuration file, or a
		   different named configuration file if the -C	config option
		   is used.

     -b	dir	   Set the root	directory in which user	home directories are
		   created.  The default value for this	is /home, but it may
		   be set elsewhere as desired.

     -e	days	   Set the default account expiration period in	days.  Unlike
		   use without -D, the argument	must be	numeric, which speci-
		   fies	the number of days after creation when the account is
		   to expire.  A value of 0 suppresses automatic calculation
		   of the expiry date.

     -p	days	   Set the default password expiration period in days.

     -g	group	   Set the default group for new users.	 If a blank group is
		   specified using -g "", then new users will be allocated
		   their own private primary group with	the same name as their
		   login name.	If a group is supplied,	either its name	or uid
		   may be given	as an argument.

     -G	grouplist  Set the default groups in which new users are granted mem-
		   bership.  This is a separate	set of groups from the primary
		   group, and you should avoid nominating the same group as
		   both	primary	and extra groups.  In other words, these extra
		   groups determine membership in groups other than the	pri-
		   mary	group.	grouplist is a comma-separated list of group
		   names or ids, and are always	stored in /etc/pw.conf by
		   their symbolic names.

     -L	class	   This	option sets the	default	login class for	new users.

     -k	dir	   Set the default skeleton directory, from which prototype
		   shell and other initialization files	are copied when	pw
		   creates a user's home directory.

     -u	min,max, -i min,max
		   These options set the minimum and maximum user and group
		   ids allocated for new accounts and groups created by	pw.
		   The default values for each is 1000 minimum and 32000 maxi-
		   mum.	 min and max are both numbers, where max must be
		   greater than	min, and both must be between 0	and 32767.  In
		   general, user and group ids less than 100 are reserved for
		   use by the system, and numbers greater than 32000 may also
		   be reserved for special purposes (used by some system dae-

     -w	method	   The -w option sets the default method used to set passwords
		   for newly created user accounts.  method is one of:

			 no	 disable login on newly	created	accounts
			 yes	 force the password to be the account name
			 none	 force a blank password
			 random	 generate a random password

		   The `random'	or `no'	methods	are the	most secure; in	the
		   former case,	pw generates a password	and prints it to std-
		   out,	which is suitable where	you issue users	with passwords
		   to access their accounts rather than	having the user	nomi-
		   nate	their own (possibly poorly chosen) password.  The `no'
		   method requires that	the superuser use passwd(1) to render
		   the account accessible with a password.

     -y	path	   This	sets the pathname of the database used by NIS if you
		   are not sharing the information from	/etc/master.passwd di-
		   rectly with NIS.  You should	only set this option for NIS

     The userdel command has only three	valid options.	The -n name and	-u uid
     options have already been covered above.  The additional option is:

     -r		   This	tells pw to remove the user's home directory and all
		   of its contents.  The pw utility errs on the	side of	cau-
		   tion	when removing files from the system.  Firstly, it will
		   not do so if	the uid	of the account being removed is	also
		   used	by another account on the system, and the 'home' di-
		   rectory in the password file	is a valid path	that commences
		   with	the character `/'.  Secondly, it will only remove
		   files and directories that are actually owned by the	user,
		   or symbolic links owned by anyone under the user's home di-
		   rectory.  Finally, after deleting all contents owned	by the
		   user	only empty directories will be removed.	 If any	addi-
		   tional cleanup work is required, this is left to the	admin-

     Mail spool	files and crontabs are always removed when an account is
     deleted as	these are unconditionally attached to the user name.  Jobs
     queued for	processing by at are also removed if the user's	uid is unique
     and not also used by another account on the system.

     The usershow command allows viewing of an account in one of two formats.
     By	default, the format is identical to the	format used in
     /etc/master.passwd	with the password field	replaced with a	`*'.  If the
     -P	option is used,	then pw	outputs	the account details in a more human
     readable form.  If	the -7 option is used, the account details are shown
     in	v7 format.  The	-a option lists	all users currently on file.  Using -F
     forces pw to print	the details of an account even if it does not exist.

     The command usernext returns the next available user and group ids	sepa-
     rated by a	colon.	This is	normally of interest only to interactive
     scripts or	front-ends that	use pw.

     The -C and	-q options (explained at the start of the previous section)
     are available with	the group manipulation commands.  Other	common options
     to	all group-related commands are:

     -n	name	    Specify the	group name.

     -g	gid	    Specify the	group numeric id.

		    As with the	account	name and id fields, you	will usually
		    only need to supply	one of these, as the group name	im-
		    plies the uid and vice versa.  You will only need to use
		    both when setting a	specific group id against a new	group
		    or when changing the uid of	an existing group.

     -M	memberlist  This option	provides an alternative	way to add existing
		    users to a new group (in groupadd) or replace an existing
		    membership list (in	groupmod).  memberlist is a comma sep-
		    arated list	of valid and existing user names or uids.

     -m	newmembers  Similar to -M, this	option allows the addition of existing
		    users to a group without replacing the existing list of
		    members.  Login names or user ids may be used, and dupli-
		    cate users are silently eliminated.

     groupadd also has a -o option that	allows allocation of an	existing group
     id	to a new group.	 The default action is to reject an attempt to add a
     group, and	this option overrides the check	for duplicate group ids.
     There is rarely any need to duplicate a group id.

     The groupmod command adds one additional option:

     -l	name	    This option	allows changing	of an existing group name to
		    `name'.  The new name must not already exist, and any at-
		    tempt to duplicate an existing group name will be re-

     Options for groupshow are the same	as for usershow, with the -g gid re-
     placing -u	uid to specify the group id.  The -7 option does not apply to
     the groupshow command.

     The command groupnext returns the next available group id on standard

     The pw utility supports a simple password locking mechanism for users; it
     works by prepending the string `*LOCKED*' to the beginning	of the pass-
     word field	in master.passwd to prevent successful authentication.

     The lock and unlock commands take a user name or uid of the account to
     lock or unlock, respectively.  The	-V, -C,	and -q options as described
     above are accepted	by these commands.

     The pw utility returns EXIT_SUCCESS on successful operation, otherwise pw
     returns one of the	following exit codes defined by	sysexits(3) as fol-

	   o   Command line syntax errors (invalid keyword, unknown option).

	   o   Attempting to run one of	the update modes as non-root.

	   o   Memory allocation error.
	   o   Read error from password	file descriptor.

	   o   Bad or invalid data provided or missing on the command line or
	       via the password	file descriptor.
	   o   Attempted to remove, rename root	account	or change its uid.

	   o   Skeleton	directory is invalid or	does not exist.
	   o   Base home directory is invalid or does not exist.
	   o   Invalid or non-existent shell specified.

	   o   User, user id, group or group id	specified does not exist.
	   o   User or group recorded, added, or modified unexpectedly disap-

	   o   No more group or	user ids available within specified range.

	   o   Unable to rewrite configuration file.
	   o   Error updating group or user database files.
	   o   Update error for	passwd or group	database files.

	   o   No base home directory configured.

     For a summary of options available	with each command, you can use
	   pw [command]	help
     For example,
	   pw useradd help
     lists all available options for the useradd operation.

     The pw utility allows 8-bit characters in the passwd GECOS	field (user's
     full name,	office,	work and home phone number subfields), but disallows
     them in user login	and group names.  Use 8-bit characters with caution,
     as	connection to the Internet will	require	that your mail transport pro-
     gram supports 8BITMIME, and will convert headers containing 8-bit charac-
     ters to 7-bit quoted-printable format.  sendmail(8) does support this.
     Use of 8-bit characters in	the GECOS field	should be used in conjunction
     with the user's default locale and	character set and should not be	imple-
     mented without their use.	Using 8-bit characters may also	affect other
     programs that transmit the	contents of the	GECOS field over the Internet,
     such as fingerd(8), and a small number of TCP/IP clients, such as IRC,
     where full	names specified	in the passwd file may be used by default.

     The pw utility writes a log to the	/var/log/userlog file when actions
     such as user or group additions or	deletions occur.  The location of this
     logfile can be changed in pw.conf(5).

     /etc/master.passwd	     The user database
     /etc/passwd	     A Version 7 format	password file
     /etc/login.conf	     The user capabilities database
     /etc/group		     The group database
     /etc/  Temporary copy of the master password file
     /etc/	     Temporary copy of the Version 7 password file
     /etc/	     Temporary copy of the group file
     /etc/pw.conf	     Pw	default	options	file
     /var/log/userlog	     User/group	modification logfile

     chpass(1),	passwd(1), group(5), login.conf(5), passwd(5), pw.conf(5),
     pwd_mkdb(8), vipw(8)

     The pw utility was	written	to mimic many of the options used in the SYSV
     shadow support suite, but is modified for passwd and group	fields spe-
     cific to the 4.4BSD operating system, and combines	all of the major ele-
     ments into	a single command.

BSD			       January 11, 2004				   BSD


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