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Thread: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

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  1. #1
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    HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Yes, I realize such a HowTo already exists (HowTo: enable passwordless logins via GDM), but this method is entirely different and, I think, less complicated.

    Warning: Even though this method is simple (few steps), it is extremely dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Do not attempt this if you are worried that you might mess up the /etc/shadow file, thus screwing up your Ubuntu system, possibly irreparably!

    This is an oft-requested task, mainly for people who don't want to require less tech-savvy family members to have to remember passwords. It is a security risk, but I think people should at least know how to put their computers at risk if they want to. Don't blame me if anything bad happens.

    Step 1
    Make sure you have created a user. For the sake of this example, let's say you called the account username guest. You can give it any temporary password you want. We're going to change that password shortly anyway. I'm assuming you know how to do this already. If you don't, I can assure you that this HowTo is not one you should be following, and you would be very likely to screw up the next step.

    Step 2
    Next, go to the terminal and paste in this command:
    Code:
    sudo nano -B /etc/shadow
    This will open the /etc/shadow file (the one that contains all the passwords) in a text editor called Nano.

    Once you have it open, find the appropriate line for the account in question. It'll look something like this:
    Code:
    guest:$1$2TUdk8Z0$tb2Fn6Idgo8dq9EgYv4xZ0:13721:0:99999:7:::
    Change the second part (in bold here) to match this second part (also in bold):
    Code:
    guest:U6aMy0wojraho:13721:0:99999:7:::
    Then save the file (Control-X, Y, Enter).

    Now you should be able to log into the guest (or whatever you called it) account without entering a password.
    Last edited by aysiu; December 12th, 2007 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Added flag to nano command to make a backup copy first.

  2. #2
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Nice one, Aysiu!

  3. #3
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Would this give the guest sudo access at the terminal?

  4. #4
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Quote Originally Posted by aimran View Post
    Would this give the guest sudo access at the terminal?
    If you give the guest account administrative rights, yes. Otherwise it shouldn't.

  5. #5
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Quote Originally Posted by aimran View Post
    Would this give the guest sudo access at the terminal?
    No. This has nothing to do with user privilege. It has only to do with the user password being blank.

    If you want to add your guest user to the admin group, then that's a separate step, and one I would strongly advise against.

  6. #6
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    @Aysiu

    Worked like a charm. Would you mind explaining a little more? I assume "U6aMy0wojraho" is the encryption for nothing?
    -----

    Community Manager @ DigitalOcean
    You're more likely to get answers from me over on AskUbuntu these days.

  7. #7
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewsomething View Post
    @Aysiu

    Worked like a charm. Would you mind explaining a little more? I assume "U6aMy0wojraho" is the encryption for nothing?
    I would assume the same thing. More details on how I figured this out:
    http://ubuntucat.wordpress.com/2007/...unt-in-ubuntu/

  8. #8
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Didn't think about looking at that, aysiu. Good thinking
    Pretty clever.

  9. #9
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Great job Aysiu! Very helpful.

  10. #10
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    Re: HowTo: Create a Passwordless / Guest Login (Simple Method)

    Hello,
    I am really wondering why it is that dificult to have a gues account.

    I asked again on Launchpad:
    https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/8897

    My requirements are as follows:

    • needs no password: I type in the user name "Guest" and get staright to the desktop
    • is locked down to only access the home directory of guest. No other drives such as additional fat32 data partitions etc.
    • configuration files like firefox and gaim get cleaned after log out.


    If I lock down the data access of that account it would not be too difficult to maintain security.

    What do you think?
    Any ideas?
    Thanks to all who help me out and the developpers!

    Friendly greetings... CU

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