ID says no such user, PW says already exists ?!?!

Dan Nelson dnelson at
Mon Dec 15 15:28:40 PST 2003

In the last episode (Dec 15), Rishi Chopra said:
> This is gonna sound crazy, but:  I got my FreeBSD box up and running
> and decided to add a user account for myself (avoid the perils of
> working as root?) I added a named account 'rchopra' and everything
> was honky-dorey.
> The following series of events occured and have left me confused and
> unable to use or re-add the 'rchopra' account:
> 1) I manually added myself to the 'wheel' account, in order to allow
> 'su' to root.  Rather than using 'pw', I was under the impression
> just editing the entry in '/etc/group' would work; my entry looked
> like this:
> wheel:*:0:root:rchopra

The userlist is comma-delimited:  

> 2) This action seemed to cause a problem; I attempted to login and su, 
> and I was not able to login successfully (my password would not work).  
> I attempted to run 'id rchopra' at the command prompt, which returns an 
> error:
> # id rchopra
> 'id: rchopra: no such user'
> Strangely enough, the '/home/rchopra' directory still exists.
> 3) OK, no problem right?  Just run 'adduser' and create the account 
> again...  Unfortunately, after entering all the information for the user 
> account 'rchopra' the system says:
> pw: user 'rchopra' already exists
> adduser: ERROR: There was an error adding user (rchopra)

That's a little weird.  Is there an 'rchopra' user when you run vipw? 
Messing with /etc/group shouldn't have affected your ability to log in.

	Dan Nelson
	dnelson at

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