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Re: SYSTEM user passwd

Prakash Khemani wrote:

> On installing CYGWIN on my WinXP machine - it created a user called
> SYSTEM in my /etc/passwd directory.

SYSTEM is a built-in user account on every[1] Windows machine.  Cygwin
did not create it, merely put a line in /etc/passwd that acknowledges
it.  The account would exist even if Cygwin had never been installed. 
Tip: Run Task Manager, select the "Processes" tab, and make sure the
"User name" column is enabled (View -> Select Columns if not.)  You will
see that all your services are run as this account.  If you are using XP
or later you will also see the additional accounts NETWORK SERVICE and
LOCAL SERVICE in addition to SYSTEM.

> If I go to Control Panel -> User Accounts then there is only one local
> user listed - and that is Administrator.

It is a built-in system account, it will not be listed there.  It cannot
be used as a normal account anyway.

> I can't do the same with the user SYSTEM. What is the password for the
> SYSTEM user - I tried the Administrator password but that didn't work.

There is none, you cannot log on to Windows as SYSTEM.  You can however
start processes as that user (as the above example with Task Manager
should show.)  Search/google the archives of this list for "sysbash" for
an example of how to get a bash prompt as the SYSTEM user.  However,
that's hardly ever required unless you're trying to debug a service that
will not start.

> My username, even though it is in the Administrators group, is not able
> to read files owned by SYSTEM and having permissions same as -rwx------.

That's normal too.  That is how POSIX permissions work.  If you are not
the owner you have no r, w, or x access for a file with permissions
700.  If you want to read the file you'll either need to first either
change the ownership ("man chown") or change the permissions ("man
chmod"), or both.  Since this file was likely created by a service you
do NOT want to blindly change its ownership to "Administrator" as then
it will no longer be able to read/write the file, unless you modify the
permissions as well.


[1] Not counting 95, 98, ME, which have no real notion of accounts

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