SUMMARY: weird utmpx problem

From: rahul sen (
Date: Mon Oct 09 2000 - 16:05:11 CDT

My original post:

>At various times (no observed pattern) on various OS levels (2.5/6/7) and various
>h/w platforms (220/420/250/e1000) the following message appears when a user tries
>to telnet/rlogin or sometimes just with telnet (rlogin works) and the login attempt
>**message starts**
>Cannot create utmpx entry. You must exec "login" from the lowest level "shell".
>**messge ends**
>SUN cannot provide any solution(!). The only solution seems to be to zero out /var/adm/utmpx
>in single-user mode. But obviously its a very irritating proposition for 24x7 production
>Any solution/insight will be appreciated. Will summarize.

The following people provided helpful insight (apologize if i left someone out) :

************************* (Was kind enough to send me a script to safely truncate
/var/adm/wtmp and /var/adm/wtmpx)
Paul Hedgepeth <>
"Stuart, Reggie (GXS, Maxim)" <>
 James Ranks <>
Jarrett Carver <
Casper Dik <>

Reasons: Basically all the replies point towards one or more of the following reasons:
1)Some application (like acct or some third party app) writing to utmpx and corrupting
2)/var filling up. Also possible due to wtmp and wtmpx files growing in size.
3)Some inconsistency with user-ids causing utmpx to get corrupted. (suggested by
Reggie Stuart)
4)Some customization error in the syslogd files. (suggested by Reggie Stuart)

Solution: In my case i have verified and can definitely rule out reasons 1,2 and
4 . I still have to investigate reason 3 since we have a user database of more than
8000 users and there is possibility of inconsistent user ids. Also we have multiple
usernames with the same user id of 0 (for root access) and that might very well
be the cause of the problem.

Thanks for ur help guys.

Rahul Sen

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