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Fix for sshd service start failure problem

For what it's worth, I think I've found a fix to a problem posted in October of 2002 in this thread:

Here's my version of the problem: After running ssh-host-config (and noticing two errors from chown about the system account), the sshd Windows service won't start, even though manually executing /usr/sbin/sshd works fine. I'm running the current openssh package, 3.7.1p2-2, on WinXP. All my other Cygwin packages are current (as of today). Here is the error message from sshd in the Windows application log (Event Viewer):

sshd : PID 4320 : starting service `sshd' failed: execv: 1, Operation not permitted.

The problem is that I didn't have the SYSTEM user listed in my /etc/passwd. I noticed that ssh-host-config had some issues with some chown calls at the end of its run. The application log message seems to come from the fact that the ownership is incorrect for the /var/empty directory (where sshd chroots to on startup, I gather).

Here was the easiest fix for me:

mypc$ mkpasswd -l | grep '^SYSTEM:' >> /etc/passwd
mypc$ cygrunsrv -R sshd
mypc$ rm /etc/ssh_host* /etc/ssh_config /etc/sshd_config
mypc$ ssh-host-config

By the way, don't forget to delete /var/run/, if it's still around. (It shouldn't exist if sshd exits cleanly.)

I have some fuzzy memory that putting the SYSTEM user in /etc/passwd used to be a security issue in Cygwin. Just for safety, I removed the SYSTEM entry from /etc/passwd again after I had run ssh-host-config. Would anyone else care to comment one way or the other?

Please copy any replies to me directly, as I'm not subscribed to the list.

Joe V.

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