Cannot delete user???

Bill Moran wmoran at
Fri Apr 13 15:16:00 UTC 2007

In response to Laszlo Nagy <gandalf at>:
>   Hi,
> I cannot remove the user with 'miller'. pw says it does not exists. 
> However, rmuser says that it does exist, but it cannot delete it (I get 
> a "no such file or directory" message). I also tried to re-add this 
> user, but it also fails. (I have deleted 'miller' from /etc/passwd, but 
> it is no use...) Please see below. How can I remove this user?

Did you possibly delete it from /etc/passwd before you did everything else?

It's not safe to edit /etc/password directly.  If you issue vipw, does
the user still show up?  if so, delete him there and /etc/passwd should
be regenerated correctly.

> gandalf at userdel miller
> pw: user 'miller' does not exist: No such file or directory
> gandalf at miller
> Matching password entry:
> miller:*:1038:1003::0:0:Thomas Miller:/home/miller:/bin/csh
> Is this the entry you wish to remove? y
> Remove user's home directory (/home/miller)? y
> Removing user (miller): home passwdpw: user 'miller' does not exist: No 
> such file or directory
> .
> gandalf at
> Username: miller
> Full name: Thomas Miller
> Uid (Leave empty for default):
> Login group [miller]: users
> Login group is users. Invite miller into other groups? []:
> Login class [default]:
> Shell (sh csh tcsh scponly nologin) [sh]: csh
> Home directory [/home/miller]:
> Use password-based authentication? [yes]:
> Use an empty password? (yes/no) [no]:
> Use a random password? (yes/no) [no]:
> Enter password:
> Enter password again:
> Lock out the account after creation? [no]:
> Username   : miller
> Password   : *****
> Full Name  : Thomas Miller
> Uid        : 1041
> Class      :
> Groups     : users
> Home       : /home/miller
> Shell      : /bin/csh
> Locked     : no
> OK? (yes/no): yes
> pw: login name `miller' already exists
> adduser: ERROR: There was an error adding user (miller).
> Add another user? (yes/no):
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Bill Moran

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