ITmet : Changing Unix Passwords : UoR, Dept Of Meteorology

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Changing Unix Passwords

Initially you will need to change both your Meteorology Department and ITS passwords. We advise you to make them the same, but be sure to choose them to be as secure as you can. Avoid using the non-alphanumeric characters £, &, # or space as there are known issues with these.

Make sure you set a secure password See below for information on how to choose your password. We do check passwords -

If your password is found to be insecure, your account will be disabled immediately and without warning

Changing password for your Meteorology account

Changing Met department Unix login password

  • Log on in the usual way
  • ssh to metoprime
  • run passwd and enter your old and new passwords when prompted as follows:

    Changing password for <username>. 
    Old Password: 
    New Password: 
    Reenter New Password: 
    Changing NIS password for <username> on
  • Note that this change takes place immediately

Changing your Met department Samba account

This is the password which allows you to access your Met department Unix home directory from a PC, mounting it as a drive letter. (eg M:).

To change this, you need to log into the samba server, metoprime.

  • Log on in the usual way
  • Log into metoprime using ssh;
          ssh metoprime
  • run smbpasswd and enter your old and new passwords when prompted as follows:

    Old SMB password:
    New SMB password:
    Retype new SMB password:
    Password changed for <username>

Note that this change takes place immediately

You will also need to change your central ITS password (that's the one you use for the internet & e-mail).

Changing password for your ITS account

Choosing your password


  • Use mixed-case alphabetic characters.
  • Use nonalphabetic characters, e.g., digits or punctuation.
  • Use a password that is easy to remember, so you don't have to write it down.
  • Use a password that you can type quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by watching over your shoulder.
  • Use at least eight characters.


  • Don't use your username in any form (as-is, reversed, capitalized, etc.).
  • Don't use your first or last name in any form, or anyone else's (including the cat).
  • Don't use other information easily obtained about you, such as birth date, birth year, telephone numbers, the make of your car, the street where you live, etc.
  • Don't use the name of your favourite team from any sport.
  • Don't use a password of all digits, or all the same letter. These are easy to crack!
  • Don't use a single word contained in ANY dictionaries, spelling lists, or other lists of words, or include such a word along with other characters.
  • Don't use a password which contains # £ \ or space.

Method to Choose Secure and Easy to Remember Passwords

  • Choose a line or two from a song or poem, and use the first letter of each word. For example, "We have no time to stand and stare" becomes "Whnt2sas".
  • Choose two short words and concatenate them together with a punctuation character between them, and use a mixture of upper and lower case. For example: "Dog;Rain", "Book+muG", "kiD?Goat".


On the Met department system, if you connect to your Met department Unix home directory from a Windows PC, you will in fact have two passwords; your Unix login password and your samba password that's used to make the PC/Unix connection.

If for some reason these two passwords are different you will experience difficulty connecting to your Unix home directory from a PC. You need to make them the same to avoid this, so follow the appropriate instructions above.