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Don Burleson Blog 







orapwd Tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Using orapwd

The Oracle orapwd command line utility assists the DBA with granting SYSDBA and SYSOPER privileges to other users.  By default, the user SYS is the only user that has these privileges that are required to use orapwd.  Creating a password file via orapwd enables remote users to connect with administrative privileges through SQL*Net.  

 Warning: Using orapwd gives other users the Oracle super user privileges.



The SYSOPER privilege allows instance startup, shutdown, mount, and dismount.  It allows the DBA to perform general database maintenance without viewing user data.  The SYSDBA privilege is the same as
connect internal was in prior versions.  It provides the ability to do everything, unrestricted.


If orapwd has not yet been executed, attempting to grant SYSDBA or SYSOPER privileges will result in the following error:


SQL> grant sysdba to scott; 

ORA-01994: GRANT failed: cannot add users to public password file


The following steps can be performed to grant other users these privileges:

  1. Create the password file.  This is done by executing the following command
$ orapwd file=filename  password=password entries=max_users


The filename is the name of the file that will hold the orapwd password information.  The file location will default to the current directory unless the full path is specified.  The contents are encrypted and are unreadable. The password required is the one for the SYS user of the database.


The max_users is the number of database users that can be granted SYSDBA or SYSOPER.  This parameter should be set to a higher value than the number of anticipated users to prevent having to delete and recreate the password file. 

  1. Edit the init.ora parameter remote_login_passwordfileThis parameter must be set to either SHARED or EXCLUSIVE. When set to SHARED, the password file can be used by multiple databases, yet only the SYS user is recognized.  When set to EXCLUSIVE, the file can be used by only one database, yet multiple users can exist in the file.  The parameter setting can be confirmed by:

SQL> show parameter password 

NAME                          TYPE        VALUE
----------------------------- ----------- ----------
remote_login_passwordfile     string      EXCLUSIVE
  1. Grant SYSDBA or SYSOPER to users When SYSDBA or SYSOPER privileges are granted to a user, that user's name and privilege information are added to the password file.
SQL> grant sysdba to scott ; Grant succeeded.
  1. Confirm that the user is listed in the password file.

SQL> select * from v$pwfile_users;


USERNAME                       SYSDBA SYSOPER

------------------------------ ------ -------

SYS                            TRUE   TRUE

SCOTT                          TRUE   FALSE


Now the user SCOTT can connect as SYSDBA Administrative users can be connected and authenticated to a local or remote database by using the SQL*Plus connect command.  They must connect using their username and password, and with the AS SYSDBA or AS SYSOPER clause:


SQL> connect scott/tiger as sysdba;



The DBA utilizes the orapwd utility to grant SYSDBA and SYSOPER privileges to other database users.  The SYS password should never be shared and should be highly classified.


Orapwd with case sensitive passwords

In the past, many people were not aware of the simple fact that Oracle passwords were not case-sensitive.  In Oracle 11g, passwords became case-sensitive.  The Oracle 11g password file can store passwords as case-sensitive or case-insensitive.


The password file creation utility evaluates the new parameter ignorecase to allow case-sensitive passwords or restrict passwords to case insensitivity. In order to create a password file with orapwd, which allows case-sensitive passwords, set ignorecase to N.


[oracle@rhas4 ~]$ orapwd help=y

Usage: orapwd file=<fname> password=<password> entries=<users> force=<y/n>
ignorecase=<y/n> nosysdba=<y/n>


   file - name of password file (required),
    password - password for SYS (optional),
    entries - maximum number of distinct DBA (required),
    force - whether to overwrite existing file (optional),
    ignorecase - passwords are case-insensitive (optional),
    nosysdba - whether to shut out the SYSDBA logon (optional Database Vault only).


There must be no spaces around the equal-to (=) character.

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Oracle Utility Information 

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