passwd: Authentication token manipulation error when setting new ubuntu account password for the first time

I have a fresh install of Ubuntu Server 18.04 which is deployed headless on my home network and I use SSH to access it. On first login, I’m prompted to change the ubuntu account’s password to another one (as standard), however before I can even confirm the new password my SSH session is closed due to the error in the title, and the password remains unchanged.

I’m running Ubuntu on a Raspberry Pi 3, and I installed the image using Rufus to my MicroSD card. I’ve read that this can be due to the card being stuck in read-only mode. However, I can’t enter any other commands and I’m forced to change the password. I’ve tried reinstalling the image several times and even checked with 2 passes to ensure there are no read or write issues with the MicroSD card.

What would be my course of action to fix this? I don’t know of a way to circumvent changing the password first time, and it would be a pain to connect my physical device to peripherals and do it in person, so I’d rather access my Server in person as a last resort.


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This could be caused by quite a few things. Here’s great article on a few things that you could try in order to solve the problem:

Let me know how it goes! Bobby