Category: Linux/Unix

How to fix useradd: cannot lock /etc/passwd; try again later linux error.

Sooner or later you'll get this error. This could be caused by several reasons.

  • The currently logged in user OR the bash script is not running as root
  • the /etc/passwd is indeed "locked" to prevent issues when creating users at the same time.

You can check if you're running as root by typing "whoami" command.

To see if the /etc/passwd is "locked" run this command.

find /etc | grep -iE '.lo?ck$'

If the command above returns a list of files and especially /etc/.pwd.lock that means that the /etc/passwd is "locked" indeed.



Ideally, you should check what process is causing this lock as it's not normal for this to stay for more than a fraction of a second.

After you've checked you can delete /etc/.pwd.lock file.



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