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Can I create another root user account in Linux / UNIX?

Q. I’d like to create my root account in Linux. How do I do it?

A. Root user is superuser on a Unix / Linux system. Root user has all rights or permissions. . The root user can do many things an ordinary user cannot do on system such as start / stop services, grant / revoke any permissions, open ports (especially < 1024 ports), user management and much more. The root user is the most privileged user on the system and has absolute power over it. By default almost all Linux distributions and UNIX like operating system creates the root account at the time of installation. You don’t have to create a new root account. Use su or sudo command to run administrative task as the root user. Creating another root user can be a security risk. Root has a UID of zero in /etc/passwd. This means absolute control over the system for the root user. You can set any user id to 0 (zero) to grant unlimited permissions provided that you login as root. However some variants of UNIX provides additional account. For example BSD provides a toor ("root" backwards) account in addition to a root account. It is recommended that you use root only when required and there is no need to create a new root user account.

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{ 43 comments… add one }

  • SMak May 18, 2008, 12:22 am

    In general when a response is label A for answer, the response will actually answer the question

  • Nasim May 18, 2008, 11:55 am

    Who can I change the root account Passward what was created at the time of installation.

    I know the existing passowrd but I need to chenge it for security.

    • narsing December 27, 2010, 9:40 am

      hai , root user will have the permission to change the root passwd

    • Manzoor December 28, 2010, 7:23 am

      its simple and very easy. just type the command “passwd” space the “username.”
      then enter it will ask for new password… tats it..
      SYNTAX: [root@server1 ~]# passwd root
      Changing password for user root.
      New UNIX password:
      BAD PASSWORD: it is based on a dictionary word
      Retype new UNIX password:
      passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.

      “tats it”

  • anthony July 4, 2008, 6:32 pm

    so how do i do it, i know its a security risk just how do i do it.

    • VikasWalia September 8, 2011, 6:17 am

      Yes you can create another account who will have the same power as root user,
      It very much simple in most of Linux OS.
      User the command ,
      #useradd -ou 0 vikas
      #passwd vikas

      After this user(vikas) will work as root user

      • praveen November 10, 2011, 6:55 am

        Hi Vikas,

        You are very good in linux. I have read your shell scripting tutorials also.
        good work.

        All the best,
        Praveen

      • ajay June 25, 2013, 9:41 am

        pls mail ur shell scripting tutorials

      • ajaz October 28, 2013, 8:33 am

        Really helpful, kindly send the links of your tutorial.

    • Gurvail Singh May 5, 2012, 1:29 pm

      Thanks vikas, Its a cool command, There are bunch of ediots wrting tens of pages to do this and finaly nothing happens. Keep up the good work.

  • rtadeo August 16, 2008, 4:18 pm

    If you haven’t found an answer yet:

    useradd -G root newuser
    passwd newuser
    id newuser

    • pursuite August 25, 2011, 2:10 pm

      thankw
      it works

      • Karl June 5, 2013, 3:15 am

        Thanks for sharing you saved me alot of needless waste of time.

        Karl

  • mehdi September 15, 2008, 10:03 am

    when installing Linux the system will not let you create a user called “root” because it already exists. You can create a user like localadmin or use your own name. Give it a password then after the installation is finished you can change root’s password by typing sudo passwd root
    it asks you for new password twice. and then after that you can log in as root.
    you can always change users password by using sudo passwd username. but if you want to be root you have to log in as yourself then do a su
    then put roots password in. after that you wont have to sudo every time.
    it is all for your benefit because you dont want to re-format and reinstall every time you make a mistake (as root) it is too dangerous.

  • minal September 24, 2008, 3:55 am

    I am a new user of linux OS Ubuntu and am trying to login as root. I can’t do so because I don’t know the root password. I was only asked for one password on installation and that does not work with root. Can someone help?

    • narsing December 27, 2010, 9:42 am

      if ur normal user you will not allow to enter in to root previleges

  • mehdi September 24, 2008, 9:17 am

    OK I am new too so experts can correct me if I am wrong!…but this is my experience…. the ubuntu 8.04 workstation version and gdm (the gnue GUI/windows) will not allow you to log in as root or privileged user…but before that when you first log in, use whatever name you created to get in the system.
    then if you are in the GUI open up a terminal (comand line) and do a
    sudo passwd root
    and set a password for the root user.
    then you can either use the command su to get in as root or login as root (before you get in the GUI).
    The root is automatically created when you install the system but it is not activated until you setup a password for it.
    you have to be patient bcs the first time you have to put your password whenever you use sudo then after that you’ll enter root’s new password twice then after that its easy bcs whenever you login as root you only use the new password once.

    You can use xdm instead of gdm to be able to log in as the root. gdm/kdm will not allow you to do that tho.
    any way root user is too dangerous.. it has precedence even over the operating system so be careful with it.

  • Johnakabean November 16, 2008, 8:11 am

    To satisfy both the security problems and your wish to have your own unique root user:

    usermod –login newusername root

    This changes the root user to whatever you want AND strengthens the security at the same time as noone can brute force the COMMON root user anymore. In order you add a DUPLICATE “root” user and sustain the same permissions, you must change the account to –non-unique so that two accounts can share the uid “0” and gid “0”. Linux is ignoring me when I use this command and I don’t know why; so, for now just change the login name. Please post if you figure out how to get linux to accept the –non-unique using usermod command.

  • Johnakabean November 16, 2008, 8:13 am

    Also, SU command will no longer work without defining your new username you choose once you do this; I don’t see this as a big problem and it again increases the security.

  • mehdi November 20, 2008, 9:39 am

    Thanks Johnakabean;

    I did not know about usermod command.
    I know tho the only GUI program that actually allows you to log on as root is xdm.
    kdm and other xwindows prog. like gdm will not allow root to log in.
    regards;

  • zaman September 4, 2009, 12:53 pm

    can anyone help me ?

    how to set bandwidth on ip address in linux (downloading).

    • narsing December 27, 2010, 9:45 am

      using neat command u will get option over there

  • mehdi September 7, 2009, 11:22 am

    to change the speed of network card you can use ifconfig
    like
    ifconfig eth0 up mtu 1500
    mtu 1500 is the max speed
    you can use 1200 or less if you wanted to
    up means to enable the nic.

    • agentduke April 4, 2011, 7:28 pm

      Actually, the mtu is not bandwidth or NIC speed. You don’t want to mess with that unless you are changing a NIC to enable jumbo framing.

  • jyotshna November 11, 2009, 3:26 pm

    actually my friend has created rootuser while installing but after two days i want to change that .Thatswhy i went to first system settings i changed the password like user name :jyotshna,password:jyotshna. Now iam not able to enter in to system throughlike super user.while iam trying do that it is showing root is changed as home directory .

  • swetha November 11, 2009, 3:37 pm

    how to create super user

    • narsing December 27, 2010, 9:46 am

      super user bis nothing but root user

  • darkrift2012 January 14, 2010, 9:40 pm

    First, as an infosec professional I completely agree with the additional security benefits and best practices SUDO provides.

    However, the self-proclaimed experts who repeatedly belch forth the tired “I-know-how-but-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you-so-go-learn-SUDO-&-sudoers” mantra are the same individuals who post explicit command-line configurations for complex OS & service installations or modifications INCLUDING THE SUDO command, without considering that newbies are simply copying & pasting these commands into their installations without understanding ANY of the risks or the increased attack surface the changes may be creating. Such behavior creates MORE security issues than sharing the information to allow a user to create alternate root accounts.

    **Before using the following commands, it is your responsibility to understand the ramifications of creating and using a root-level account. Use may result in a security compromised system or you may render your system COMPLETELY UNUSABLE.

    ** You agree by using the information contained herein that any negative impact or results to any system, data or network are entirely your responsibility.

    Create additional root-level accounts by running these commands from a terminal session:

    > sudo su
    > useradd -G root
    > passwd
    > id
    (you should see something similar to: uid=1001(newusername) gid=1001(newusername) groups=0(root)
    > usermod -o -u 0 -g 0
    (in the usermod command string, the first switch is the letter “O”. The characters following the -u and -g switches are each “zero”)
    > id
    (now you should see something similar to: uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)

    I suggest bouncing your system prior to logging on with the newly created root-level user account.

    > shutdown -r now

    These commands work well in most main stream *nix and BSD distributions. Use them wisely.

  • John May 20, 2010, 6:55 pm

    Thanks darkrift2012. Most *nix vets don’t even seem to be able to understand the question.

  • steve October 1, 2010, 3:49 am

    I have a problem in regards to root. I have a windows virus in linux weird but true! the problem is it’s in root on my linux distro and i’m sure its using wine to activate the virus. Would i need to worry as it can’t move around like in windows. Can’t do anything with it do you have any ideas?

  • Manzoor November 18, 2010, 4:35 am

    i cant able to add new user from root.. its saying that useradd command not found.. now wat i have to do?

  • narsing December 27, 2010, 9:48 am

    how to give root permission to normal user

  • Mehdi December 31, 2010, 4:00 am

    I think you have to be root in order to add user.
    so log in with your user name and then type su then hit enter then put in the root password.
    then the commands will work.

  • Mehdi December 31, 2010, 4:06 am

    Oh BTW, if this is the first time you set up linux what you can do is to log in as regular user (bcs it will not allow you to create root at the install, since its already there…) then do a passwd root to set a new password for the root, then you can log on as root user or do the su or sudo commands.

    Darkrift2012 has an excellent post above as well.

  • spevz January 21, 2011, 7:20 am

    how can i stop/start a services in /etc/init.d/ using an ordinary user account?

  • p1p March 17, 2011, 10:28 pm

    how do you make a user a sudoer

  • sadhana patil March 22, 2011, 5:39 am

    how to install image on ubantu

  • Meh May 16, 2011, 5:20 am

    Root is a secret….

    Because PC’s have a 99% chance of getting physically stolen where cruel punishment can take place, which could include:

    1. Drop from a 3rd story window
    2. Electrify your cat Squiggles while its taking a bath
    3. Mysterious strangers using your backspace key as if its a pound key repeatedly
    4. Because grany loves peaking at your special artwork
    5. Because being root makes you feel important
    6. Aunt Jemima and her secret service of highly trained ninjas

  • kaleeswari August 9, 2011, 7:54 am

    i want to create a new user in fedora linux
    but that permission was denied while using the command USERADD.
    how to grant the permission to create a new user?
    please its urgent

    • Matey August 9, 2011, 3:08 pm

      oops made a comment but in the wrong place, I think.
      I hope su works.

  • Matey August 9, 2011, 3:03 pm

    did you use sudo before useradd?
    or as I do I just type in su and then the password then I get the new shell which I am the root, then I can do whatever. then I type exit to get out of root and go back to my user.

  • Aziz August 30, 2013, 5:45 pm

    How can I set Privileges to created user in centos?

  • Alex May 2, 2014, 7:03 pm

    I created a root user name but could not login with the password I provided. How do I recover my password or how do I go about logging-in?

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