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To disable a user account, edit, as root, the
'' file (assuming
you're using shadow passwords; if not, edit the
'' file instead),
and replace the password (which is stored in its encrypted form) with a
``*'' asterisk character. All Unix passwords, regardless of length (up
to a maximum of 8 characters), are stored in the password file as
encrypted strings of 13 characters. Therefore, by replacing the password
with a single ``*'' character, it is impossible for the user to sign
Note: Note: This method will require you to assign a new password to the user if you re-enable the account, since the encrypted password field will have been replaced. One solution to this which seems to be popular among system administrators is to simply prefix the ``*'' asterisk character in front of the encrypted password to disable the account, and simply removing the asterisk to enable it.
For more information on the
'' files, see Section 6.6 below.