A Comprehensive Guide on How to Change Linux Username


Changing your Linux username is a common administrative task that may be necessary for various reasons, such as enhancing security or rebranding. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of changing your Linux username, ensuring a seamless transition without compromising your system’s integrity.

1. Understanding the Importance:

Before diving into the technicalities, it’s crucial to understand why changing a Linux username is necessary. Whether it’s for security reasons, personalization, or compliance with organizational policies, a thoughtful consideration of the implications will guide you through the process.

2. Checking Current Username Details:

Begin by examining your current username details. Open a terminal and use the whoami command to display the current username, and id command to gather additional information like user and group IDs.

$ whoami
$ id

3. Backup and Data Migration:

Before proceeding, always create a backup of important data associated with the current username. Additionally, ensure that any running processes or services using the current username are stopped or reconfigured to prevent data loss or corruption.

4. Login as Superuser:

Changing a username requires elevated privileges. Log in as the superuser or use the sudo command to gain the necessary permissions for the upcoming tasks.

$ sudo su

5. Modifying the Username:

To change the username, use the usermod command. Replace “old_username” with your current username and “new_username” with the desired new username.

$ usermod -l new_username old_username

6. Updating Home Directory:

After changing the username, update the home directory to reflect the new username. Use the usermod command with the -d option.

$ usermod -d /home/new_username -m new_username

7. Group Modifications:

Update the group ownership associated with the user to match the new username.

$ groupmod -n new_username old_username

8. Updating Permissions:

Ensure that file permissions are adjusted to reflect the changes. The chown and chmod commands come in handy here.

$ chown -R new_username:new_username /home/new_username
$ chmod -R 755 /home/new_username

9. Configuring User Information:

Update the user information, including the full name and other details. Use the usermod command with the -c option.

$ usermod -c "New Full Name" new_username

10. Updating System Files:

Some system files may reference the old username. Use tools like sed to replace occurrences of the old username in configuration files.

$ sed -i 's/old_username/new_username/g' /etc/...

11. Verifying Changes:

After completing the steps, verify the changes by logging out and logging back in with the new username. Ensure that all applications and services are functioning as expected.

12. Final Checks and Troubleshooting:

Perform final checks to guarantee the success of the username change. If issues arise, refer to system logs, and consult relevant documentation or online forums for troubleshooting guidance.


Changing a Linux username involves a series of meticulous steps to ensure a smooth transition. By following this comprehensive guide, you can confidently modify your username, maintaining system integrity and preserving data integrity. Always exercise caution, back up critical data, and consult relevant documentation for your Linux distribution.

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