Account login password change problem

Asked by steros


I tried to change my user login password.
So I went to Users Settings and Change User Password.
I entered the old password and the new one two times. Then clicked "Ok".
After that the window went grey and nothing happened for quite a while.
Later a window appeared though I am not sure if it is related.
It says "The system configuration has potentially changed. Update content? This will lose any modification in course."
What content does it update? What modification do I loose?
That is pretty unsure and concerning me.

Thanks for your support!

Question information

English Edit question
Ubuntu gnome-system-tools Edit question
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
Last query:
Last reply:
Revision history for this message
actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

Hold shift at boot and select recovery mode, then select root. You can now run:

passwd foo

change foo for your username. E,g,

passwd andy

You can now set your password and you should be ok. Reboot by running:


and boot as normal, login with the password you set

Revision history for this message
Eliah Kagan (degeneracypressure) said :

actionparsnip's solution will enable you to change your password. You can probably also change it by opening a Terminal window and running:


The message you're seeing, however, is interesting, and suggests a bug. This is reminiscent of bug 185236 (which affected time-admin, rather than users-admin, as is the case here). What version of Ubuntu are you running, and what version of the package gnome-system-tools is installed?

Revision history for this message
steros (steros) said :

gnome-system-tools is version: 2.32.0-0ubuntu 1.1
Ubuntu is version: 10.10

My question is actually not answered with the solutions above. Thanks for those but I'm stuck at that popup. Do I click yes or no?
Will I loose data as said or not? What data will I loose?
What happens if I click no, password not changed? Will it be changed if I click yes?

Revision history for this message
Eliah Kagan (degeneracypressure) said :

From the source code that contains this message ( -- it's in the function configuration_object_changed), it seems that the gnome-system-tools utilities show this message when they find that the configuration has been modified, but it does not appear that they have been modified by the utility itself.

Thus, it seems that "Update content?" is asking if you want to update the settings that you see in front of you, and that "This will lose any modification in course" is warning you that you will lose any modifications that you are in the progress of making.

Therefore, it should be safe for you to click Yes.

It looks like there are two possible causes of this message. One possible cause is that some part of the configuration that you're viewing was changed from some other utility, or through some automated mechanism. The other possible cause, which seems more likely, is that you already *did* succeed at changing your password, but that for some reason there was a lag of over two seconds between when you changed it and when users-admin (the Users and Groups tool) was able to recheck the state of the configuration, causing it to erroneously believe that it had not itself made the change. There is a comment in the source code that says:

"If we get ::changed shortly after having committed, there's a good chance that the tool has been the origin of the change. Of course there could be the possibility that this isn't true, but will happen quite rarely."

So perhaps this is one of those rare times.

Whether that is what happened or some part of the configuration was really changed externally, it shouldn't be a problem to click Yes. In the former case, your password has definitely already been changed successfully. I have not read the source closely enough to know if, in the latter case, it is possible that your password has not been changed yet, but in that case it probably has.

That message was very confusing, and it should *not* be necessary to read the source code to understand the message. So this probably indicates a bug, at least in the wording of the message. However, perhaps there is another bug in play, as well. If you're interested in helping to improve Ubuntu, then you could check to see if the password had been changed successfully, and then (whether or not it was), log out and back in (if you haven't already) and try changing it again. If you get the same message again, then this is probably not one of those rare times, which would strongly suggest a second bug. I emphasize that such testing, while relatively easy and quick to perform, and while helpful, is *not* necessary for you to perform if you do not wish to.

Revision history for this message
steros (steros) said :


password was unchanged after I clicked yes.

I can reproduce the problem to some extend, but I do not get the popup again.
I open the "Change User Password" window.
Then I type the old password, after that the new password but must be not secure enough.
After you get rid of the popup telling so click on "Generate random password" and then generate some times.
Then click on "Set password by hand" and enter a proper password.
If you click ok now I get the greyed window that is stuck.

If I just enter a proper password the window closes immediately after that and the new password is taken.

I remember that I deinstalled some applications meanwhile like gwibber, pidgin. Maybe that interfered and caused the popup?
If I now use the Software Center or the Package Manager to install/deinstall software no popup is caused.

Revision history for this message
Eliah Kagan (degeneracypressure) said :

Do you have any idea why your password was not successfully changed the first time? Were you told that it was inadequately secure that time too?

Since you are now able to change the password, and you have never seen that strange message box since, what do you mean when you say that you're able to reproduce the problem to some extent?

"I remember that I deinstalled some applications meanwhile like gwibber, pidgin. Maybe that interfered and caused the popup?"

If removing those packages modified elements of the configuration that users-admin was looking at, then yes, that's possible. I am not adequately familiar with users-admin's operation (I have not looked at all the relevant parts of the source) to know if this explanation is plausible.

Revision history for this message
steros (steros) said :

I did the same as mentioned above with the unsecure password etc etc and got that greyed out window at the end. After that I moved to another panel and deinstalled packages.
When I came back that popup had appeared. I clicked yes after your second comment here and first tried to lock the screen and test the password there. Was still the old one, then I even restarted the computer but the password was unchanged.

I was able to reproduce the problem as far as I got to the "frozen" greyed out window. Which was one step before the popup appeared.

Unfortunatly I do not remember what packages I have deinstalled or what steps exactly I did after the window greyed out. So I can not reproduce it from that point on.

Revision history for this message
Eliah Kagan (degeneracypressure) said :

If I understand correctly, your original two issues are now resolved (i.e., you got past that strange message box, and your password is successfully changed). When you saw the message box, that might or might not have been a bug, but the only that's reasonably clear is that the wording of the message box is buggy insofar as it is confusing. Therefore, unless you have further questions or you wish to report the latter condition as a bug, you can mark this question as Solved now. I will probably report it as a bug and submit a patch for better wording sometime soon.

Revision history for this message
steros (steros) said :

Yep, you understood correctly.
Just keept this open in case I could give you any further information.