How To: Kill A User Session

Today’s article won’t be useful for many of my regular readers because it’s about how to kill a user session. This is a skill worth learning, but really only applies to computers that have multiple people logged in at one time. If that’s describing you and your needs, this may be an article worth reading.

Of course, if that’s not something you do, you can still learn from this. It’s not all that complicated and is easy enough to follow. So, feel free to learn something – even if it isn’t something you’re likely to ever need.

There are times when you may have someone logged in and you want to log them out. For example, let’s say you’re getting ready to fire someone. You’re going to want to delete their account, make sure they’re logged out of their account, and then take them to HR where you can file paperwork and escort them (and their property) off the site.

You might also want to do stuff like log people out so that you can perform updates on the server. There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to kill a user session. Your reasons are your own. I’ll simply be showing you the tools.

Kill A User Session:

You’ll need an open terminal and to be connected to the computer you want to control. If you’re doing this, I’ll assume you’re aware of how to do those things. If you’re doing this on your own computer, you can usually press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Once you’re connected (or have your own terminal) you can find the logged-in users with the following command:

Actually, you can just use this command:

The results are the same. So, either works.

You can now see the output which will show you every logged-in user on that device. Next, you’ll kill a user session with the following command:

If you wanted to use the kill command, you could find the associated processes (the PID) but there’s no reason to do so when you can just kill a user session with the username.


There you go. I figured I’d do a nice, short, and easy article. It’s not very complicated and it’s not something many of you will need. However, if you’re managing a system with multiple people logged in, this is a very useful tool to have. You never know when someone’s going to come into your office and ask you to kill a user session. Well, now you know how…

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