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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

Technical documentation

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pwck, grpck — password/group file checkers


/usr/sbin/pwck [-l] [password [shadow]]

/usr/sbin/pwck [-s] [-l] [password]

/usr/sbin/grpck [file]


pwck scans fields in the password and shadow files and reports any inconsistencies to standard error. The checks include validation of the number of fields, login name, user ID, group ID, and whether the login directory and optional program exist. In addition, if the root entry shows a program, it can only be one of: /sbin/sh, /usr/bin/csh, /usr/bin/ksh, or /usr/bin/sh. The default password file is /etc/passwd. The default shadow file is /etc/shadow. For additional verification, use pwconv, to check consistency between entries in the password and shadow files.

grpck verifies all entries in the group file and reports any inconsistencies to standard error. This verification includes a check of the number of fields, group name, group ID, and whether all login names appear in the password file. The default group file is /etc/group.


pwck recognizes the following options:

-s Check inconsistencies with the Protected Password database. It calls authck -p.


Check encrypted password lengths that are greater than 8 characters.


Group entries in /etc/group with no login names are flagged.


Successful password file validation is not sufficient for proper system operation. To help maintain consistency with other system databases, editing of the password file with vipw is discouraged. HP recommends that you use sam, useradd, usermod, userdel, chfn, chsh or passwd to edit /etc/passwd.

HP-UX 11i Version 3 is the last release to support trusted systems functionality.



pwck and grpck check only the local password, shadow and group files. The Network Information Service database is not checked.


pwck was developed by AT&T and HP.


/etc/group /etc/passwd /etc/shadow


pwck: SVID2, SVID3

grpck: SVID2, SVID3

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