Creating a User Account

When you installed Red Hat Linux you were given the opportunity to create one or more user accounts. If you did not create at least one (not including the root account) you should do so now. You should avoid working in the root account unless you absolutely have to.

There are two ways to create new and/or additional user accounts: using the Red Hat User Manager or from a shell prompt.

To create a user account graphically:

  1. In GNOME, click the Start Here icon on the panel at the bottom of your desktop. In the new window that opens, click the System Settings icon, and then click the User Manager icon. You can also select GNOME Main Menu => Programs => System => User Manager.

    In KDE, select KDE Main Menu => System => User Manager.

  2. If you are not logged in as root, you will be prompted for your root password.

  3. The window shown in Figure 1-7 will appear. Click on New User.

    Figure 1-7. The User Configuration Tool

  4. In the New User dialog box, enter a username (this can be an abbreviation or nickname), the full name of the user for whom this account is being created, and a password (which you will enter a second time for verification). The name of this user's home directory and the name of the login shell should appear by default. For most users, you can accept the defaults for the other configuration options. Refer to the Official Red Hat Linux Customization Guide for details about the additional options.

  5. Click OK. The new user will appear in the user list, and the user account creation is complete.

To create a user account from a shell prompt:

  1. Open a shell prompt.

  2. If you are not logged in as root, type the command su - and enter the root password.

  3. Type useradd followed by a space and the username for the new account you are creating at the command line (for example, useradd carole). Press [Enter]. Often, usernames are variations on the user's name, such as jsmith for John Smith. User account names can be anything from the user's name, initials, or birthday to something more creative.

  4. Type passwd followed by a space and the username again (for example, passwd carole).

  5. At the New password: prompt enter a password for the new user and press [Enter].

  6. At the Retype new password: prompt, enter the same password to confirm your selection.


    You can be fancy or plain when you pick a user account name, but take precautions when you choose a password. The password is the key to your account, so it should be both unique and easy for you to remember. Your password should be at least six characters. You can use both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and characters. Avoid easy selections, such as qwerty or password. If you want to pick an easy-to-remember but somewhat unique password, consider a variation of a word, such as a!rPl8nE for airplane.