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userdel - delete a user account and related files
userdel [options] LOGIN
The userdel command modifies the system account files, deleting all
entries that refer to login_name. The named user must exist.
The options which apply to the userdel command are:
- -f, --force
This option forces the removal of the user, even if she is still
logged in. It also forces userdel to remove the user’s home
directory or her mail spool, even if another user uses the same home
directory or if the mail spool is not owned by the specified user.
If USERGROUPS_ENAB is defined to yes in /etc/login.defs and if a
group exists with the same name as the deleted user, then this group
will be removed, even if it is still the primary group of another
Note: This option is dangerous and may leave your system in an
- -h, --help
Display help message and exit.
- -r, --remove
Files in the user’s home directory will be removed along with the
home directory itself and the user’s mail spool. Files located in
other file systems will have to be searched for and deleted
The mail spool is defined by the MAIL_DIR variable in the login.defs
Group account information.
Shadow password suite configuration.
User account information.
Secure user account information.
The userdel command exits with the following values:
1 can’t update password file
2 invalid command syntax
6 specified user doesn’t exist
8 user currently logged in
10 can’t update group file
12 can’t remove home directory
userdel will not allow you to remove an account if the user is
currently logged in. You must kill any running processes which belong
to an account that you are deleting.
You may not remove any NIS attributes on a NIS client. This must be
performed on the NIS server.
If USERGROUPS_ENAB is defined to yes in /etc/login.defs, userdel will
delete the group with the same name as the user. To avoid
inconsistencies in the passwd and group databases, userdel will check
that this group is not used as a primary group for another user, and
will just warn without deleting the user otherwise. The -f option can
force the deletion of this group.
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