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How is the Root User Different Than Others?

The Root User

In any Unix system, the root user is called a superuser because it has powers far beyond those of mortal users (and it's not even affected by kryptonite). As root, you can access files and change the system in ways other users cannot. But you can also wipe out your entire hard drive in just ten keystrokes.

Unless you plan to install new software or tweak your system, you should log in to Linux as a user other than root.

Ex Nihilo: Adding New Users

In the Linux universe, new users do not evolve--they are created by a benevolent superuser. To add a new user account, log in to the root account and enter a command like the one shown here. There's no limit to the number of new users you can add.

adduser hermie

After using the adduser command, you must assign a password to the new account before it can be used. Use this command to set the password:

passwd hermie

. . . and enter the initial password for hermie when prompted.

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Comments - most recent first
(Please feel free to answer questions posted by others!)

lemon ice     (18 Mar 2012, 22:03)
After i have successfully installed Linux, configured services on the system, and documented settings, i must maintain the system's integrity over time. What is the maintenance methods?
Skilper Roxy     (18 Mar 2012, 21:46)
Root can configure the system using graphical tools or command lines. What the advantages of both methods?
Barbie Dolly     (18 Mar 2012, 21:44)
any operating system must have a super-user (root). What the function of a user root?
What the various projects that offer web-based administration tools in Linux systems?
FrenshUnyon Dip     (29 Feb 2012, 14:39)
A good nice site linux of basic. Thank u.
Sarbashis Ghosh     (10 Feb 2012, 09:13)
as a root user,how can i make it happen so that all other user will only be able to login in CUI mode?
ephraim     (16 Jan 2012, 16:44)
i want to install a linux progg. but when i activate the install file, a dialog box appear to inform me that i must log in as a super user. I used -su command to get in as root but get same error. what could be wrong. thanx
Jaydin     (05 Jan 2012, 16:18)
I am trying - with ubuntu- to copy to the file system- specificaly, I have chocolate doom on my PC now and am trying to copy all of my doom wads from \~ or home dir to \usr\share\games\doom. any help on what the command would be- I was born and raised on DOS, so this is new to me.....
Ashok     (07 Nov 2011, 23:24)

What are the files will get updated when user changes the password
Ben     (21 Oct 2011, 07:49)
Adding a user for learning as Bob suggests is a great idea. That said, please ensure you're the only user on the system. Having an 'open' user account with an easily guessed password is considered bad form. Although, if the open user is merely a plain user no real problems should occur. Do not however, use an easily guessed password for your root user. The root user is your computer's administration user. It controls the system. If you're connected to a network, having an unsecured root user, could prove tragic. Linux is really secure and powerful. The great benefit of power does incur a fee, responsibility. If you're coming from Windows be aware of this.
[email protected]     (23 Sep 2011, 02:42)
hi BOB ,

Please tell me the command to see the restart time of system
zz     (16 Aug 2011, 00:58)
whats root user?
duvvuri     (02 Jul 2011, 10:25)
Mail clients such as outlook express or evolution mail or thunderbird can be configured to have more than two mail accounts, ie. connect to more than one mail server. However, the problem with outlook express is that it supports connection to one exchange server only. So since you have an exchange server for LAN and linux-based mail server for external mailing, go ahead and setup another account with the mail client and giving the correct details of SMTP, IMAP/POP server and TLS/SSL details. A single mail client will be able to service both the mail boxes.
Liam     (21 Jun 2011, 18:18)
Or sudo if you need root/superuser privileges in Ubuntu.
nhoel     (07 Apr 2011, 03:02)
just type

su -
then it will ask you, your root password. just type your rootpasswd and there you are..
soumyadip mahapatra     (24 Mar 2011, 04:45)
i m the new user of ubuntu.......
can u tell me how i go to root from a user?
ex:-soumya(user)to root
FELIX     (24 Mar 2011, 04:30)
Stjuart     (04 Feb 2011, 22:45)
I am using a prompt command and I like to change to root ,to create a group or file but it not doing that change
Aknox     (04 Jan 2011, 20:58)
Hi Doc,

I have exchange mailboxes on the internal LAN and Linux redhat relaying mail at the gateway. a new can send both internal and external emails also can receive internal email but CANNOT receive external email. How do I create and an email in linux using sendmail?
Renaud Olgiati     (30 Nov 2010, 09:05)
In fact, not ten, but nine keystrokes are enough to hose a system (as Root): # rm -Rf /(Enter)
antoneo     (14 Oct 2010, 12:05)
dr bob, when i install red hat 9 on my pc it shows an error of scsi ,though i m having windows already installed on it ,why?????
How     (11 Oct 2010, 03:14)
I am the admin who is trying to add more than 3 users by it was denied, is there a limit to number of users?
Simon Greenwood     (28 Aug 2010, 18:46)
It is a good web :)
Mark Jacobs     (08 Jul 2010, 08:36)
@Mallikarjun if this isn't basic enough foy you , you need a Mac
Mwaura Sammie     (16 Jun 2010, 00:54)
@Shikhin try using this command useradd username instead of adduser...then for password use the description given by bob
John     (14 Jun 2010, 21:14)
Try using the command
useradd -m UserName

to create a new user

you can change the password by the process mentioned by Bob

for more about adding user try - man useradd

Shikhin     (01 Jun 2010, 03:39)
Hi Bob,
I am 12 and have a Linux SUSE 11 on my laptop. Well when I log into root and try make a new user using adduser command it says that no such command exists. Further more, I cannot even open a virtual console. What am I doing wrong?
shaik     (21 May 2010, 06:13)
Hi Doc Bob,

can u pls add adding groups and assiging users to tht group.. Please, so many thanks in advance.
Thanakorn     (05 May 2010, 02:57)
How to set the new user role?
BlackHatLinux     (27 Apr 2010, 06:51)
i've never seen any websites out there that give linux lessons more basic than this. he even teach us history. what kind of more basic information are you looking for?
Mallikarjun     (27 Apr 2010, 06:17)
Nice Website but we want basic information first

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