How to add remove user (standard user/non-root) in Kali Linux?

This guide will walk you through on how to add remove user (standard user or non-root user) in Kali Linux. I’ve tested this in Kali Linux, so any Debian or Debian derivative (such as Ubuntu) should just work.

This guide accomplishes:

The main reason I wanted to try this to demonstrate the followings:

  1. Add a user with all user directories already in place (thereby avoiding “Could not update .ICEauthority var/lib/gdm3/.ICEauthority” or any error containing .ICEauthority or permission in general.
  2. Add user to sudo group to allow him to use root commands. You can also add user to ‘lpadmin’ group to allow printing for Canon or HP and such. See Linux printing guide
  3. Change default shell from chsh to bash. Or any shell like Bourne Shell (sh), Bourne-Again Shell (bash), C Shell (csh) or Korn shell (ksh) etc.
  4. Login as that user and demonstrate there were no errors.
  5. Be able to use sudo and show groups affinity.
  6. Delete that user safely.

Benefits of Standard User in Kali:

Few benefits you have as non-root or standard user in Kali

  1. Install and run Google Chrome
  2. Install and run Gnome User and Groups manager (Install gnome-system-tools)
  3. Use Kali as Primary Operating System without worrying about breaking it all the time.

Now let’s move onto actual guide.

Add user in Kali Linux:

  • First of all let’s confirm which version of Linux and Kernel I’m running.In command prompt type in
    uname –a
    lsb_release –a

    How to add remove user - Standard usernon-root - in Kali Linux - blackMORE Ops -1

  • Now let’s add user. Open terminal and type following to create new user (replace user1 with your desired user name)
    useradd -m user1

    How to add remove user - Standard usernon-root - in Kali Linux - blackMORE Ops -2

    (Note: -m means create home directory which is usually /home/username)

  • Now set password for this user
    passwd user1

    Enter desired password twice

    How to add remove user - Standard usernon-root - in Kali Linux - blackMORE Ops -3

  • Add user to sudo group (to allow user to install software, allow printing, use privileged mode etc.)
    usermod -a -G sudo user1

    How to add remove user - Standard usernon-root - in Kali Linux - blackMORE Ops -4

    (Note: -a means append or add and –G mean to specified group/groups)

  • Change default shell of previously created user to bash
    chsh -s /bin/bash user1

    How to add remove user - Standard usernon-root - in Kali Linux - blackMORE Ops -5

    (Note: chsh mean change login shell, -s is the name of the specified shell you want for the user, in this case /bin/bash)

    Nice, all worked out as expected.
    Let’s logout and login back as our new Standard Non-root user (user1)

Check Also

Run Kali Linux in Microsoft Azure on SSD for free - blackMORE Ops - 1

Run Kali Linux in Microsoft Azure on SSD for free

Big news for Kali Linux users, now you can run Kali Linux in Microsoft Azure …


  1. Thank you very much! Was reading some stuff about this ICEAuthority error but this helped me finally! Great Template of the Blog by the way.


  2. Awesome for nebie like me. Nebie question. Why you change default shell?! What for?!

    • Hi olmc,

      Thanks. I’m glad you actually picked it up and paid attention to small details.

      bash is a superset of sh ie. everything you can do in sh you can do in bash. Bash has more features (branching, builtins, arrays) making script easier to write. I guess Wikipedia can explain better than I can ..…. You could create another user, skip chsh -s /bin/bash user1 and see how default shell feels like. If you like that, you keep that, else you could always delete that test user.

  3. Is the command sudo su – permenant because it keeps reverting back to user?

  4. I used to log in as root ! but now i’ m standard user !
    so how can i import all the system settings and preferences from the old user (root) to this new user ?
    and thank you !

    • I have been trying to find the same answer as Helmi??? Bump

      • There’s no easy answer to this really. Ideally you should be making changes on /etc/skel/ so that the changes takes affect when a new user is created.
        Apart from that, copy all files from User1 to User2 home folder, chmod and chown them. But depending on applications installed and access required, I am afraid you’ll be doing too much work this way. Cheers,

  5. Very insightful and informative….


  6. Thank’s to the communities of blackmoreops you are just doing a marvellous job.

  7. I tried to do this just to access chrome, and I think changing the default shell on the new user somehow killed gnome3.

    Now when I boot in, I just have a black screen with the cursor as a white watch. I can access the terminal, but can’t seem to get internet access, and nothing I can find anywhere else seems to help.

    Any ideas? I tried changing the shell on root between sh and bash, with no luck. Deleting the user, trying to fix the apt-get installs via net but couldn’t connect.

    Thank you very much for your guides otherwise though! They’re fantastic.

  8. Hello admin please help me can u tell me how to switch users in Kali Linux on android

  9. Hi,
    I followed ur steps.. works fine till add to SUDO group. Next when I do the chsh -s /bin/bash username, I get a “enter password” and then authentication failure. (I enter root password. I also tried the username password and no password !) I am working with Kali linux.

    Am I missing anything?

    Thank you for the time.

  10. plz help
    How to remove my login detail from wtmp

  11. hi
    thank you for this great tutorial
    but i have i small problem i hope you help me solving it
    i can normally log in as root but when i try log in as normal user this message shows up ” could not update iceauthority file /home/habi/.ICEauthority

    i tried to remove the file but it didn’t work .
    thank you very much.

  12. How to change the “root” name?

  13. i got a error to create a useradd -m user1 this commd,can not create direcetory home/user1

  14. Thanks for the great post!

  15. Awesome
    it really works.
    i have changed user name by using above commands in recovery mode

  16. i shall now proceed to bookmark your page

  17. Very Helpful. Thanks.

  18. How do we safely delete group created by user1, assuming that a group ‘user1’ created for user ‘user1’.

  19. just getting an error at the first command ”uname: extra operand ‘–a’
    Try ‘uname –help’ for more information.”

  20. hello sir
    I got an error . when i updated my kali linux to kali linux rolling , i had an account in kali linux with name “ali” and unfortunately it had been deleted but now when i tried to log in into kali linux rolling the CLI shows an error with user “ali” services not started and all the extensions has been stopped . so kindly tell me what can i do ..
    i also tired by deleting the home dir of user ali but not worked .

  21. to change from normal to root user type in sudo -i
    then a window will pop up asking for pass
    then type the user password
    you are ready to go
    if it doesnt work try switching to genome in the logout page

  22. Please find need help, after entering user name I try to type my new password is does not do anything, I don’t know what I am doing wrong here please help?

  23. Not working in the ‘new’ rolling version of Kali 2.0 (after distupgrade)

    For some reason it stays ‘root’

    Tried it over and over what you wrote, but it won’t work.

    Am I doing something wrong?

    Ok, Kali 2.0 is on a fast USB stick here, works fine so far.

    But I can’t make another user, passwd, sudo …



    • Hello Pete,
      Are you using non-persistent USB installation? This works on pretty much any Debian flavored distro. What is the error you are getting?
      You can try this …

      useradd -m mytestuser -G sudo -s /bin/bash
      passwd mytestuser
      Enter new UNIX password: somepassword1234
      Retype new UNIX password: somepassword1234
      su bmo

      This should create and then switch to mytestuser account.

  24. Hellow there,

    First I have to thank you for the fast reply.

    I tried it out but it doesn’t work.

    I’ve set up the USB 3.0 stick this way.

    Downloaded a Kali 2.0 installed it on the bootable stick with ‘Pendrivelinux’

    After installing Kali on the stick I’ve set up it as Persistence (Mini Partition Tool) to move/resise the usb stick.

    You can shrink the partition size with the Mini partition Tool. I thought you needed that when making changes to the OS??? (space?)

    create as: Primary … File system: Ext 4 … partition label: persistence

    Done that I had to set up ‘persitence’

    fdisk -l (L)
    (do remember partition you have created on: fat32,NTFS, exFAT, Ext4)

    mkdir -p /mnt/UUI
    mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/UUI
    echo “/ union” > /mnt/UUI/persistence.conf
    umount /dev/sdb2 && reboot

    Worked fine after reboot, dit the apt-get clean/update/upgrade/dist-upgrade

    Build in some things as TOR, LibreOffice, VLC-player, Hexchat, Angry IP scanner searched the net for those things. :s

    Then I wanted to make another user and that didn’t work.

    Have I messed up the OS?

    If I do what you wrote the only thing it does is that in the ‘All settings window -Users the name (you gave: ‘mytestuser’) i gave the new user is in it but I can’t make changes on it and ne user won’t run. As I click the name of the new user in Users it must be possible to make some more settings but I didn’t do it)

    As you see, I’m not an IT but I do loved the Kali 2,0 distro. There are many Linux distros but I think they ar not that good.

    I want to give it another try … dunno what went wrong???

    Thank u again for your reply.



    p.s. sorry for the msitypo’s

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