How to delete user account in Redhat/Ubuntu Linux?

Deleting user account in Linux is as a task to remove user login credentials from system configuration files such as /etc/passwd, /etc/shadow and files which are owned by that particular user  from the Linux server. Here we are going to see on how to delete a user and precautions to be taken when deleting users. Lets start deleting user with examples.

Example1: Delete user account from a machine

userdel username


userdel surendra

The disadvantage of the above command is that it only deletes users login details but not his home directory.

Example2: Deleting user account and his home directory from a Linux machine

userdel -r username

-r stands for remove home directory as well

The disadvantage of above two commands are that they will not delete user files which are scattered across the machine such as his personal files, his mail spool etc.

There is an excellent user deleting command with more options such as deleting entire user files, the command is deluser. We will see some examples of this command

Example3: Delete user account forcefully though user logged in.

deluser –force username

Example4: Delete user account along with his home directory

deluser –remove-home username

Example5: Delete user account along with his home directory and his personal files which are located in different locations which you are not aware.

deluser –remove-all-files username

Example6: Delete user account and take backup of his files to a directory for future use by the company.

deluser –backup-to DIR username

Example: I want to delete user account Don and take backup of all his files to /var/backup

deluser –backup-to /var/backup don

Note: When you take backup, the backup file is created as /var/backup/don.tar.gz file.

Lets see in our next post on how to add user to primary group.

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Mr Surendra Anne is from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is a Linux/Open source supporter who believes in Hard work, A down to earth person, Likes to share knowledge with others, Loves dogs, Likes photography. He works as Devops Engineer with Taggle systems, an IOT automatic water metering company, Sydney . You can contact him at surendra (@) linuxnix dot com.