User management is an important part of Linux administration. Sometimes you need to list the users on a system or disable a user account. Other times, you may need to delete a user account entirely, which is what we'll be covering in this guide.

There are a couple of methods for deleting user accounts on a Linux system. One way to do it is via the command line, and the other method is via GUI, which varies depending on the desktop environment you're running. We'll be covering the command line method as well as removing a user in GNOME and KDE.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to remove a user via command line
  • How to remove a user on GNOME GUI
  • How to remove a user on KDE GUI
How to remove a user on Linux
How to remove a user on Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Any Linux distro
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Remove a user via command line


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To delete a user via the command line, open a terminal and execute the following command:

# userdel username

To remove the user's home directory at the same time, add the -r option:

# userdel -r username

The userdel command won't work if the user is currently logged in or has processes running under the account. In this case, you have two options. You can either kill all the user's processes with the killall command or use the -f option with the userdel command to force deletion.

# killall -u username
OR
# userdel -f username

The user should now be eradicated from the system after successful exection of the userdel command.

Remove a user on GNOME GUI



To remove users in GNOME, you'll need to install the gnome-system-tools package. You can install it by typing the following command in terminal if you're running Ubuntu or another Debian based distro:

$ sudo apt install gnome-system-tools

Arch Linux and Manjaro:

$ sudo pacman -S gnome-system-tools

Fedora and CentOS:

$ sudo dnf install gnome-system-tools

Once it's installed, you'll be able to open the Users & Groups application.

Open the Users and Groups application
Open the Users and Groups application

From here, just highlight the user you wish to delete and click the button to remove it.



Highlight the user and click the delete button
Highlight the user and click the delete button

Remove a user on KDE GUI

KDE has a built in user management menu. You can simply search for it in the app launcher.

Open the User Manager application
Open the User Manager application

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Highlight the user you wish to delete and click on the minus sign button.

Click the minus button to delete a user
Click the minus button to delete a user

Conclusion

In this guide, we learned how to delete users on Linux from the command line and GUI. This includes GNOME and KDE, two of the most popular desktop environments. All methods are equally viable, so you should pick whichever is easiest for you.

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