Linux delete user command

I am a new Linux sysadmin. How do I remove a user account named foo? How can I delete user using the command line option?

Do you want to remove a user account from the Linux based system? Use the userdel command on the command line. This page shows how to delete users on Linux.

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Linux delete user command

As root user type command
userdel {username}
sudo userdel {username}
userdel [option] {username}

How to list users on Linux system

Use the cat command or more command to view /etc/passwd file:
$ cat /etc/passwd
$ more /etc/passwd

How to search for given username

Use the following grep command to locate a particular user name:
$ grep "^username" /etc/passwd
$ grep "^raj" /etc/passwd

Deleting user account named raj

Say you want to delete user named raj, run:
$ sudo userdel raj
OR
# userdel raj
Verify that user account deleted from the Linux:
$ grep "^raj" /etc/passwd

Linux delete user account command

Deleting user account named raj using userdel command on Linux

Linux remove user account command

One can combine usedel command with the -r option. The -r option removes user’s home directory along with all files and email. The syntax is:
userdel -r {username}
sudo userdel -r {username}

For example remove user named tristan and delete the user’s home directory too:
$ sudo userdel -r tristan
OR
# userdel -r tristan
Make sure user account delete on Linux. Run id command or grep command for verification:
$ id tristan
$ grep "^tristan" /etc/passwd
$ sudo ls /home/tristan/

How to remove any SELinux user mapping for the user’s login

Try:
sudo userdel -Z -r {username}
sudo userdel -Z -r vivek

How to forcefully delete user account when is currently logged in to Linux server

Pass the -f option to the userdel command. It forces the removal of the user account, even if the user is still logged in. For example:
$ sudo userdel -r rob
[sudo] password for vivek:
userdel: user rob is currently used by process 4650

To get rid of “userdel: user rob is currently used by process 4650“, run:
$ sudo userdel -r -f rob

Conclusion

Use userdel command to delete a user account and related files on Linux.

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3 comments… add one
  • Dr. DJ Mar 14, 2012 @ 18:17

    I search in Yahoo for “How do i deactivate Linux user account?” and this page help me. Thanks admin!

  • Aditya May 14, 2013 @ 11:14

    Yes, the -r option is pretty safer, and thus recommended. Now I do not recommend the -f option which forces the removal of the user account even if the user is still logged in. You really don’t want that, do you?

  • Badshah Oct 2, 2014 @ 1:02

    I wanna delete user accounts with home directory in Linux. I try and it worked as told here:
    su -
    userdel -r username
    id username

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