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Maximizing Productivity: How to Easily Switch Users in Linux

Changing the User in Bash: How to Switch Users in Linux

Linux is one of the most powerful operating systems, preferred by millions of developers worldwide. One of the most crucial aspects of Linux is the capability to have multiple users logged in simultaneously on a single machine.

This is essential for collaborative workflows and increased productivity. In this article, we will explore how to change a user in Bash, including listing users in the environment, using the su command to change a user, using the sudo command to perform tasks with administrator privileges and switching to root user in Bash.

Listing Users in the Environment

Before switching users, it is essential to know the available users on your system. To do this, you can look at the user accounts of the /etc/passwd file via the terminal.

Type the following command:

$ cut -d: -f1 /etc/passwd

This will display all the user accounts present on your Linux system.

Using the su Command to Change User

The most common and simple command to switch users is the “su” command. The su command allows you to change to another user’s environment with just one command.

This command gives you the privileges and permissions of the user you switch to. Simply type in the command followed by the username in the terminal, as shown below:

$ su userName

For example, if you want to change to a user named “delftstack,” then the command to be entered is:

$ su delftstack

You will be prompted to enter the password of the user you want to switch to.

Once the password has been entered successfully, you will be logged in as the new user.

Using the sudo Command to Change User

The sudo command is used to perform tasks with administrator privileges in Linux. Sudo allows users to launch privileged commands and operations, which means that you can also use it to switch to another user.

Here is an example of how to use the “sudo” command to switch to another user. $ sudo -iu userName

The “-i” flag specifies that you want to run a login shell as the new user.

The “-u” flag specifies the username of the user that you want to switch to. You will be prompted to enter your password before switching to the new user.

Changing User to Root in Bash

“Root” is a special user account in Linux that has full administrative privileges over the machine. Root has access to all files, directories, and system functions.

However, it is essential to use this account with caution since using it improperly can cause system damage or data loss. Follow the steps carefully to change the user to root:

$ su –

The hyphen tells the su command that we want to switch to the root user account.

The command su – has to be entered without the username.

Conclusion

Switching users is a fundamental concept in Linux that allows multiple users to work on a single machine simultaneously. Although Linux has a different way of handling multiple users, it has several built-in tools and commands to manage users efficiently.

In this article, we have discussed a few basic commands to switch users such as su and sudo command to switch to a specific user account, and “su-” to switch to the root account. By following these commands, you can switch users on Linux confidently and efficiently.

Using the sudo Command to Change User:

Syntax and Usage

The “sudo” command allows you to execute commands with administrator privileges. In Linux, it is essential to use the sudo command when you want to change the user as well.

The sudo command is used to perform tasks with root-level privileges, which means that you can use it to launch commands as another user with administrator access. In this section, we will explore the syntax and usage of the sudo command to switch between users on Linux.

Syntax and Usage

The syntax for using the “sudo” command is quite simple. Type the command “sudo” followed by the command you want to execute and the username of the user you want to switch to.

The command and the username should be separated by a space, as shown below:

$ sudo -u UserName command

For example, if you want to launch the command “ls” as user delftstack, you would enter the following command:

$ sudo -u delftstack ls

You will be prompted to enter your password to authenticate yourself and switch to the new user. Example: Switching to the user delftstack and launching a command

Here is a simple example of switching the user to delftstack and launching a command.

Let us assume that we want to list all the files and directories within the home directory of delftstack. The command for this operation is ls followed by the home directory path, which is /home/delftstack/ in this case.

$ sudo -u delftstack ls /home/delftstack/

This command will list all the files and directories within delftstack’s home directory. Since “sudo” is used, you will be prompted to enter your password before the command is executed.

Changing User to Root in Bash: Using the su command to change to Root user

As we have discussed earlier, Root is a special user account in Linux with full access to all the files, directories, and system functions. The root access is used only when performing system-level tasks that require administrative privileges.

By default, the root account is disabled in most Linux distributions to prevent unauthorized access to system-level tasks. In this section, we will explore how to change the user to the root account using the “su” command.

Changing User to Root in Bash:

Syntax and Usage

The syntax to change to the root user is quite simple. Type the command “su” followed by a hyphen and press enter.

The hyphen is essential because it tells the “su” command that you want to switch to the root user account. Once you hit enter, you will be prompted to enter the root password.

Here is an example of how to switch to the root user:

$ su –

You will be prompted to enter the root password. Once you have entered the correct password, you will be logged in as the root user.

Example: Switching to the Root user

Here is an example of switching the user to the root account using the “su” command. Suppose you want to install software on your system that requires administrative privileges.

In that case, you can switch to the root user to perform the installation. $ su –

You will be prompted to enter the root password.

Once you enter the password, you will be logged in as the root user. Now you can install the software and perform any other system-level task that requires root privileges.

Conclusion

Switching user accounts is essential in Linux when multiple users log in to the same machine. There are several ways to change the user in Linux, including using the “su” command and the “sudo” command.

The “sudo” command is used to execute commands with root-level privileges and allows switching to another user account also. The “su” command is used to switch to the root user account on the system.

In this article, we have discussed the syntax, usage, and examples of these commands to swap users on Linux. By following these commands, you can change the user accounts confidently and execute system-level tasks with ease.

In conclusion, switching user accounts in Linux is a fundamental concept that is necessary when multiple users are using the same machine. Commands such as “su” and “sudo” are essential in changing the user account.

The “su” command is used to switch to the root user account, while the “sudo” command allows you to execute commands with root-level privileges, including switching to another user account. By following the syntax, usage, and examples provided in this article, you can confidently switch user accounts in Linux and perform system-level tasks.

Always remember to use caution when using the root account due to its full administrative privileges. Overall, knowing how to change user accounts in Linux will help increase productivity, efficiency, and collaboration when using a shared machine.

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