Linux Create User Account

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Q. How do I create create a new Linux user account ? How do update or modify default Linux new user information? Using the command prompt (shell) tools, how do I add a user to the system? What are command line options for adding a user?

A. To create a new user account under any Linux distribution use command called useradd. The system administrator is responsible for creating account. Login as root user (or use sudo command).


useradd command syntax

useradd [options] {username}

Depending on command line options, the useradd command will update system files (/etc/passwd and /etc/shadow file with password) and may also create the new user’s home directory and copy initial files.

Linux add a new user called rakhi

Type the command as follows:
useradd rakhi
Set a password for rakhi:
passwd rakhi
Without password user account will be in locked status. To unlock the account, you need to use above passwd command. Use passwd command to assign a password and set password aging guidelines.

Set account disable date

You can set date for the account to be disabled in the format YYYY-MM-DD with -e option while creating account itself:
useradd -e {yyyy-mm-dd} {username}
useradd -e 2008-12-31 jerry

Set default password expiry

The -f {days} option set number of days after the password expires until the account is disabled. (If 0 is specified, the account is disabled immediately after the password expires. If -1 is specified, the account is not be disabled after the password expires.)
useradd -f {days} {username}
useradd -e 2009-12-31 -f 30 jerry


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

120 comment

      1. $ who only shows you the name of the user you are currently logged into the system as. The ‘ cat /etc/passwd’ method shows all users register to the system. You can grep for userid as well which I picked up from a different post. You have to check your /etc/passwd file to see where added user id numbers start. The example i saw started at 500. Mine start 1000.

        $ cat /etc/passwd | egrep ‘[1][0-9][0-9][0-9]’

    1. Login with Any user which is Normal user not the Admin or root.
      Root is admin and if anything in place of root will be Local user.
      It will list the present working directory…
      type cd /home.
      then type ls

      It will list all the users created in Home directory…..

      1. You Didn’t read the above:

        Luca Francesca November 6, 2012, 12:44 pm
        User and their home
        cat /etc/passwd | awk -F: ‘{print $1,” =>”, $6}

        manju September 22, 2011, 2:52 pm
        type in root user
        ls /home/

        Andy October 16, 2011, 8:59 pm
        That will only work if there is a userfolder created for every user. And thats not necessary the case.

      1. @Fuji : hi , cat /etc/passwd | cut -d”:” -f1 , what is the meaning of this command.Pleaswe tell ASAP.

        1. hi,
          cut -d ” ” -f1 means d is delimiter .In this command delimiter is colon(:) .field1.If the file content is like this ramnaidu7:500:501:Bh.Ram .
          After issuing above command o/p is ramnaidu7 since colon(:) is the delimiter and that is considered as field1(f1)

          1. I think the folliwng is important. You want one character after the -d, that being the separator between columns.

            [root@localhost ~]# cat /etc/passwd | cut -d”:” -f1
            cut: the delimiter must be a single character
            Try `cut –help’ for more information.
            [root@localhost ~]# cat /etc/passwd | cut -d: -f1

        2. It display the passwd file in /etc/ and after cut command using -d-delimiter
          where u specify field1 it will shows..

  1. hi
    i cant create password for my user
    errore: dab password: it is based on a directory word.

  2. It was a really simple & useful tutorial.
    @Mehdi: Try something difficult;t as your password. Linux is intelligent enough to disallow simple dictionary word as password.
    Say for example you can try: awk007

  3. i just laod ubuntu and there is no option for PW during the installation now somw want to access my machine through SSH and asking for root PW how can i create the pw for root as well as other account and pw , please guide me ???

    1. Why would give somebody root access to your machine?
      Try the following

      sudo -i
      Enter your user password
      Then when logged in as root type
      to set a password for the root user.
      But i don’t recommend doing this, especially because you seem not to be too fond of linux….

  4. I deleted my user account in fedora 11 by mistake and now I cannot enter to linux.
    What should I do?
    There are no more user accounts in the system.

  5. How can I play mp3 files in linux fedora 11.
    The players in this system don’t know the mp3 files.

  6. Hello,

    Is it possible to create a new user by edit the /etc/passwd file ?
    when i try to add a new line with a new user name, user ID , user comment, home directory
    it doesn’t work.
    What am i missing ?

    Thank you all,


    1. No, you cannot create a new user by editing the /etc/passwd. Instead you should either use a GUI to help you or use ‘useradd -p

    1. Through graphic mode you can add,like in windows.
      like as User friendly screen will be pulled up and you can create within the screen only…

  7. I have the user linux:/home/wolful

    how to create linux:/home/admin ,
    or how to rename user “wolful” in “admin” without the reinstallation of the linux(suse) ??

    1. For user admin there are four commands mainly..


      So try the options for usermod as it is used to change username which is currently active in the Linux OS
      Try to find it from Internet and it will surely help…u

  8. how to boot dual booting windos, linux with together press F8 key
    then display windows, after press F8 key then display Linux What Coomand on the linux base

    Manoj Prajapati.
    SIET Gr. Noida

  9. Hi Guys,
    Do you want to give the root access to the normal Linux user, even after the root passwd get changed?

    Do follow below commands,
    Login as a root user,
    Let suppose the user is imtestuser
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# useradd imtestuser
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# passwd imtestuser
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# visudo
    #One file get opened,
    # add the below line to the file
    imtestuser ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
    #save the file.
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# su imtestuser
    [ imtestuser@girish.mahajan ~]#
    [ imtestuser@girish.mahajan ~]#
    [ imtestuser@girish.mahajan ~]#
    [ imtestuser@girish.mahajan ~]# sudo su –
    [ root@girish.mahajan ~]#

    # Now even after changing the passwd , ur imtestuser get authenticated without asking for passwd, and even it get changed…

    Girish Mahajan

  10. Continuing with above statements…
    Smarter person can do like ,

    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# adduser imtestuser –home /var/.imnotatheft/imtestuser
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# passwd imtestuser
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# visudo
    #One file get opened,
    # add the below line to the file
    imtestuser ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
    #save the file.
    [root@girish.mahajan ~]# su imtestuser
    [ imtestuser@girish.mahajan ~]# sudo su –
    [ root@girish.mahajan ~]#

    # Now even after changing the passwd , ur imtestuser get authenticated without asking for passwd, and even it get changed…

    Now , guys , by follwing these steps , u are creating let suppose a hidden user, having a grant to logged in to as a root user without passwd and all.

    Girya ! :)

      1. No you cannot create user without root Login,as Root is the Admin and only administrator has a rights to manage and create…

        root is the superuser in the Linux OS.
        If u try creating user with local user login
        EG:[localhost@root]#->This is the root user present
        If i create user
        useradd a
        passwd a
        if you type or change user :su – 2
        Type useradd b
        It wont work and will show you that u dont have superuser permission for it..

  11. Hey,
    there is also this option:

    adduser tomer -p Liux12345

    if you want to automate a scenario in which you need to define a user on a Linux machine programatically, using the above command will save you the hassle of getting prompts from the machine when defining a new user.


  12. Hey,

    I was wondering, in linux mint can you use internet explorer 7 still? And also, how do you change operating systems, like I have Windows Vista now, I dont want to get rid of it. I want to get a different operating system though, How could I change back and forth if I didnt like it?

  13. Hello Everybody!!!
    can anyone lead me where can I find a source code for Linux?
    my thanx in advance

  14. what is the use of passwd -r command in solaris 10
    and what is the use of useradd -k command in soalris 10

  15. I want to modify both sides of the @.


    usermod -l booboof root

    What changes userland?
    Would like booboof@t:~#

  16. Good article, every comment above this one though sounds like a bunch of script kiddies begging for haxx00rz lol!

  17. how to create user in linux without using useradd command………..???????/
    plz reply me early as possible……………….thanx…………….

  18. Hey..

    I have a linux server with 5 dedicate IPs on it.
    I have created 5 users on the server and want to restrict each users with 1 specific ips..
    user1 should only access the server with IP 1
    user2 should only access the server only with IP 2..etc

    awaiting for response

  19. hey ! i created user along with password, but i forgot password how can i access to the same user without password

    1. Login as root user.

      modify the /etc/passwd file for the user password being lost…

      save it
      Switch user with su command,and check it will work…

      1. No such command exist where you can create multiple users unlike multiple files in Linux OS.

        It requires advance Shell scripting…

  20. Hi:
    I create a count with the name of IRAF and the next are: “IRAF Maintenance”, home directory “/iraf/iraf/local”, shell “/bin/tcsh”, and a secure password. ” In the directory it appears like “iraf:x:1001:1001::/home/iraf:/bin/sh”; wath does it means?
    …i’m a beginner, then I can’t find the properties and the user privilegies in the tabs. Where are they? I need it for the installation of IRAF in my UBUNTU 32-bit o.s.

  21. I created another user account, but they cannot edit what they need to edit. How can I select a folder and have them be able to edit anything within that folder?

    1. either make the user/ group of users owner of the directory
      use chown
      or change the permissions of the directory as read write [execute] to all
      sudo chmod 777 -R
      #with absolute path

  22. This is really helpful. I have a linux virtual machine, and it uses backtrack 5 as an interface. I hope this works. :D

  23. Doesn’t work…

    Login as root, go to shell,
    useradd x
    passwd y

    passwd: user y does not exist.

    This tutorial sucks.. typical linux, nothing is ever INTUITIVE

    1. if you are logged in as that user, use
      if you are logged in as root and want to change the password of another user use
      passwd username

  24. Hello guys,
    I have a vps that I must share with my developer and assistants, how can i prevent file download from server and allow just uploads?
    or how can i protect my files in vps from being downloaded ?
    what I must do?

  25. i have some questions..Please answer it…
    1.How to know the pirticular user password is locked.?
    2.If the pirticular user forgets the password what will you do.?

    1. 1)If the User is not able to login though after entering password correctly,it means the user accct is locked.
      The only way to unlock is using the usermod command with the Arguments and options as mentioned per the Syntx..

      You can download or can know from
      2)if a user can forget the password ,Root user can go and reset it,else the user can also change the passwd but then he has to enter password with password number,symbol and text…
      Root can changed without complexity..
      Choice is yours,Any issue kindly email me,will help you..

  26. When I type the command useradd it gives the following details please provide the solution
    deepak@deepak ~/Desktop $ useradd ram
    Command ‘useradd’ is available in ‘/usr/sbin/useradd’
    The command could not be located because ‘/usr/sbin’ is not included in the PATH environment variable.
    This is most likely caused by the lack of administrative priviledges associated with your user account.
    useradd: command not found

  27. hey, i want to install linux in my system but i am having windows-7.i want to operate linux from cd or from usb.which way would be better.please tell me.

    1. You can go and install after creating a partition so as to make Two different OS.
      You should have min of 4 GB Ram and min of 512 HDD…
      But it will boot Linux first as it will be installed after preinstalled windows..
      So you can do this way by reading the docs from google ,i just provided you the idea..

      My opinion is to installed Linux virtually by the means of VMWARE workstation as it wont occupy space on ur physical HDD.
      I have installed the same as mentioned Virtualy.

    1. you can view the complete user details under File:/etc/passwd
      user password is stored under /etc/shadow.

  28. how to execute write and news commands in linux (SuSE) communication commands. and also how to create a user in linux. how to install the printer also

  29. Hi ,
    I am a newbie to Linux.
    I want to know all the commands as well as their effects which will help me to manage a server. just like adding users,adding groups assigning them disk spaces and other things.

    Please help me out and if possible share with me some useful links .

    Thanks in Advance.

  30. how can u add a user without useradd,adduser,passwd command
    and yes I cannot use the graphical interface too..

  31. Hi everyone, i am trying to add a user in ” /home/ ” but every time i get this error

    command ‘useradd’ is available in ‘/usr/sbin/useradd’
    the command could not be located because ‘/usr/sbin’ is not included in the PATH environment variable.
    This is most likely caused by the lack of administrative privileges associated with your user account.
    useradd: command not found.

    what should i do..??
    i use the syntax : “useradd desd”.

    I also tried sudo before the command but it wont accept the password ….

    1. Hi..

      you should try creating user in superuser Root is the ony user having sufficient priviledges for creation and deletion of users….

      You must be creating under local user login..
      try creating under Root user,it will work…

  32. how to create graphical user inferfaces login to my users for example ssh. ssh only text based login.but i need to configure my users graphical user inferface login. please solve this question?

    1. If you want a simple solution, you can use bash for this (This will vary for users of unity/gnome/kde). Use ‘zenity’ (see $zenity –help)

      $ export credentials=$(zenity –password –username)
      $ echo $credentials

  33. To see all the user accounts on your system;
    – First switch to a root user by issuing the command # su –
    – A password for root is required to switch.
    – Once successfully switched, use the command # cat /etc/passwd
    – All the user accounts will be listed including parameters except their password.

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