Account Creation Errors

Last modified: April 15, 2020


This document contains common account creation errors and the steps to troubleshoot them.


For more information about account creation, read our Create a New Account documentation.

groupadd and useradd errors

You may receive this error for several reasons:

Immutable files

If the /etc/passwd or /etc/group files contain the immutable flag, the system cannot edit them and therefore cannot add the account to your server.

To check these files, run the following commands:

lsattr /etc/group
lsattr /etc/shadow

If these files contain the immutable flag, they will return i in these commands’ output.

To remove this flag, run the following commands:

chattr -i /etc/passwd
chattr -i /etc/group

Corrupt group shadow file

If the /etc/gshadow file becomes corrupt, the system cannot correctly add the account to your server. For each group in the /etc/groups file, the /etc/gshadow file should include a line in the groupname::: format, where groupname represents the group name. Any /etc/gshadow file that does not include these lines is corrupt.

To rebuild corrupt files, perform the following steps:

  1. To move the existing /etc/gshadow file, run the following command:

    mv /etc/gshadow /etc/gshadow.corrupt
  2. To rebuild the file, run the grpconv command.

  3. If they exist, delete the /etc/grshadow.lock and /etc/group.lock files.

unable to add user errors

If the system returns an unable to add the user error, the user may already exist in your system. To check whether the user already exists, perform either of the following steps:

  • Attempt to navigate to the /home/username directory, where username represents the account username.

  • Check the contents of the /etc/passwd directory for an entry for that user.

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