Two Methods for Changing Your Password in Ubuntu

We previously wrote about generating strong, secure passwords in our post, Two Free Methods for Generating Strong, Secure Passwords. If you do not have a very secure password on your Ubuntu account, you may want to follow one of those methods to generate a new, secure password and change your password in your Ubuntu account. There are two methods for changing your password in Ubuntu.

Graphical Method

The first method uses a graphical interface. To begin, select Administration | Users and Groups from the System menu.

Selecting Users and Groups

On the Users Settings dialog box click the Change button to the right of the Password field.

02_users_settings_dialog_change_password_button

On the Change User Password dialog box enter the password you are currently using in the Current password edit box. If you are using a password you choose or one you generated, enter/paste your new password twice, once in the New password edit box and again in the Confirmation edit box.

Change User Password dialog box

If you want Ubuntu to generate an 8-character random password, consisting of alpha-numeric characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9), select the Generate random password option. A password immediately displays in the Password set to edit box. If you want a different password than the one displayed, click the Generate button to generate a new one.

NOTE: To generate longer passwords with more different character sets in it, see the post mentioned at the beginning of this post. You can paste any password generated by an outside tool or website into the New password and Confirmation edit boxes under Set password by hand.

Generate random password option

When you click OK on the Change User Password dialog box, Ubuntu analyzes the new password you chose. If you try to use a password that is too similar to the current password, Ubuntu warns you and does not allow you to choose that password. When you click Close on the warning dialog box, you are returned to the Change User Password dialog box.

Old and new passwords are too similar

Ubuntu also does not let you assign a password to your account that it thinks is too simple.

New password is too simple

Once you have entered a password Ubuntu finds acceptable, your new password takes effect immediately, and you are returned to the User Settings dialog box. Click Close.

Closing the Users Settings dialog box

Command Line Method

The second method involves using the command line in a Terminal window. Select Accessories | Terminal from the Applications menu.

Opening the Terminal window

At the prompt in the Terminal window, enter the following:

$ passwd

You are asked to enter your current password, and then to enter your new password twice. If you need to paste a password you generated, right-click at the command prompt and select Paste from the popup menu. Do that again you are asked to retype your new password.

Pasting a password in the Terminal window

Just like when changing your password using the graphical method mentioned above, if you enter a password that is too simple, Ubuntu warns you and does not let you use that password. You are asked to enter your new password twice again.

Changing the password in the Terminal window

Ubuntu also warns you if your old and new passwords are too similar.

Old and new passwords are too similar in the Terminal window

Remember to use strong, secure passwords when protecting your information and your accounts. If you need a method for storing, secure, but hard-to-remember, passwords, check out options such as KeePass and LastPass. See the post mentioned at the beginning of this post for more information.

by Lori Kaufman

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