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Failed to Change root's Home

Ralph Grothe
Honored Contributor

Failed to Change root's Home


this should be an easy one.

I don't want the root directory i.e. / to be the root account's home.

Thus I created a directory /root which resides in the same filesystem as the root LV (i.e. no submount).

When I issue usermod this happens:

# ls -ld /root
drwx------ 2 root sys 96 Jul 11 15:30 /root
# awk -F: '$3==0 {print $(NF-1)}' /etc/passwd
# useradd -D
SKEL /etc/skel
SHELL /sbin/sh
# usermod -d /root root
'/root' is not a valid directory

Is this only changeable for the root account in single user mode?
Or could I use the "vipw" command and edit the home field directly?

Finally, the mount of the Root FS looks strange:

# bdf /
Filesystem kbytes used avail %used Mounted on
/dev/root 143360 31507 104874 23% /
# grep ' / ' /etc/fstab
/dev/vg00/lvol3 / vxfs delaylog 0 1
# lvlnboot -v|grep -i root
Physical Volumes belonging in Root Volume Group:
Root: lvol3 on: /dev/dsk/c1t2d0
# grep ' / ' /etc/mnttab
/dev/root / vxfs log 0 0 994940210

Why didn't init mount the /dev/vg00/lvol3 instead of /dev/root.
The latter looks quite strange to me.

Madness, thy name is system administration
Laurent Paumier
Trusted Contributor

Re: Failed to Change root's Home

You just need to change this in /etc/passwd using vipw. Find the line for root and change the 6th field from / to /root. Move all config files to the new dir (mv /.??* /root/) and you're done.
Oliver Stoklossa
Frequent Advisor

Re: Failed to Change root's Home

Hi Ralph ...

vipw works fine ... just change / to /root, but check the permissions. Why don't you just use SAM to change the home-directory ... you can't change the login name nor UID, but the homedir is no prob ...


Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: Failed to Change root's Home

Last error first:

To get / mounted correctly:

mv /etc/mnttab /etc/mnttab.old
mount -a

This will not affect any of your mounted file system, but will correct the error.

Changeing root's homedir: I'd just use vipw and change the directory to /root. One thing I would consider though is that one of the reasons for changeing roots homedir is so you don't fill up / inadvertently. I would consider putting root's homedir as /home/root. That way if you do something silly and create a huge file, you fill up /home, but not /. Filling home may not be good, but I'd rather it be /home at 100% than /.
Laurent Paumier
Trusted Contributor

Re: Failed to Change root's Home

Oops, forgot the second part of your question... The root fs is mounted directly by the kernel, the line in /etc/fstab is not used (/etc/fstab does not even exist until / is mounted...). Thus the symbolic name /dev/root instead of /dev/vg00/lvol3.
Robin Wakefield
Honored Contributor

Re: Failed to Change root's Home

/dev/root is a pseudo failsafe device. To fix:

rm /etc/mnttab

mount with no args rebuilds mnttab.

Ralph Grothe
Honored Contributor

Re: Failed to Change root's Home

Many thanks for your hints to all.

Sorry, for the mispost in databases.
I meant to post this in administration but there must have been some stale hidden field still lingering when I hit the submit button.

Actually, I knew that as root I would always be able to make changes to /etc/passwd but usually there's more involved behind the scenes than just changing one field.
That's why I prefer to run the usermod command on SysV Unices.
For instance on Solaris or Linux with an /etc/shadow you would also have to issue a pwconv.
But since we don't run a secure system in that respect a mere vipw will probably do the job.

With regard to my strange / mount.
Patrick, I clobbered the mount table
(i.e. >/etc/mnttab), and ran a mount, which rebuilt it, but exactly same as before.
Even a temporary renaming didn't help.
Will I have to reboot (or change runlevel) first in order to get it fixed?
Because I'm not familiar with the /dev/root device I have a sneaking suspicion that my mirrored /dev/vg00/lvol3 may not be kept in sync as long as it doesn't appear in /etc/mnttab.
I hope I'm wrong in this respect.
Madness, thy name is system administration