How To: List All Users In Linux

If you want to list all users in Linux, this is the article for you. It should be a fairly short article, but it should tell you how to list all users. So, there’s that. By that, I mean it’ll probably do what it says on the tin, namely telling you how to list all your users.

You may want to check the list of users from time to time. Applications may add users, you may have added users, malicious software or people may have added users, etc… There are other reasons to list all users, but you get the idea.

This is a beginner-level exercise, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty with it. It should also be reasonably short, which is nice! If you find any mistakes or have any questions, scroll down and leave a comment. You can also ask on the lovely Linux.org forums.

Without further ado…

List All Users:

Once again, we start with opening the terminal. To do this, you just press CTRL + ALT + T and the terminal should open. That’s true on most distros that I’ve encountered. If not, you will still need an open terminal.

Got it open? Good, ’cause it’s a pretty easy operation. The file you’re looking for is ‘/etc/passwd’, which is a plain text file that’s in conjunction with the /etc/shadow file. Like most text files, it’s easy enough to work with them in the terminal.

You probably shouldn’t edit /etc/passwd by hand, but we’re just going to be viewing it.

So, to show the content of the file (and see the list of users):

If you want to show fewer results at a time, you can just use:

If you want, you can ‘grep’ a specific user. Just pipe the output to grep and you’re good to go. It looks like this:

If you want to use that format AND have numbered lines, one way of finding out how many users there are, then just use:

Though you could just as easily have used this to get the number:

If you want to list just the users, you can use ‘awk’ and pick the first column like this:

And that’s about it, really. You’ve now listed all the users – and counted ’em!

Closure:

That’s it! That’s all there is to it, and you’ve learned a little bit more – this time how to list users in Linux. I told you that it’d be pretty painless and easy. Plus, this is another article for the books – and this one authored early enough to give me some time to keep scheduling them ahead of time.

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How To: Properly Delete a User’s Account

Today’s article will show you how to properly delete a user’s account. It’s a pretty basic task and an astute observer would note that I’ve not yet written an article about creating user accounts. I may have to write said article at some point, because why not? This promises to be a pretty easy and brief article!

When you install some software, it may add a user. When you remove that software, it may just leave that user behind. You may have multiple people using your devices, or you may be working in a corporate environment. Either way, there comes a time when you may want to clean house and delete user accounts that are no longer necessary.

It can be just a little tricky to properly delete a user’s account, so I figure it’s something worth covering. The tool we’ll be using is ‘userdel‘ and my checking indicates it’s universal. Let’s get to it!

Delete A User:

I’m gonna assume that you already know the name of the user you’d like to remove from your system. With that information in hand, let’s open the terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T on your keyboard. 

Once you have the terminal open, you can do a basic user delete with:

If the user has a /home/user directory, you can delete that at the same time with this:

Seems nice and easy, right? Well, before you should run any of those commands you should be sure that the user is both not logged in and has no processes running in their name. If you do have either of those things, you will want to run this command before running either of the userdel commands above:

You can also try the -f (force) option with the userdel, but I’ve never had good luck with that. So, your better using killall before you use userdel. If you’d like to try it, here it is:

And that’s actually everything. There’s likely to also be a graphical way to delete users and that’ll depend on your desktop environment. Rather than play around with learning and documenting all those, you can just do it in the terminal where it’s easy enough and equally effective.

Closure:

And now you know how to delete a user account, and how to do it properly. Indeed, this is another article in the books and hopefully this one will help people for years to come. It’s a good idea to not have pointless users around on your system. If they exist, they can be used.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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