How to Add Users in Linux Using GNOME Desktop

Take Advantage of the Multi-User Nature of Linux With Ease

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If you have a Linux-powered computer that is used by more than one person, why allow those other users to have unfettered access to your data? Seeing as how Linux, by design, is a multi-user environment, why not take advantage of that feature and give every user in your home, school, or business their own account? By doing this, each user will have a convenient (and safe) space to house their files and information, separate from the other users.

Believe it or not, this can be done without issuing a single command, so you don’t have to worry this will be above your pay grade. It’s a simple task that offers significant benefits (when multiple users need to access that machine).

Which GNOME?

For the purpose of this article, we used GNOME, version 3.32.0, running on Pop!_OS 19.04.

Opening the User Settings Tool: Method 1

The first thing to do is to open the settings tool. This is done by following these steps:

  1. Click Activities.

    Screenshot of the Activities button.
  2. Click the Settings icon in the Favorites bar.

    Screenshot of the Settings launcher in GNOME Dash.
  3. When the Settings window opens, click Details.

    Screenshot of the GNOME Settings window.
  4. Click Users.

    Screenshot of the Details view in GNOME Settings.
  5. You now have access to user settings.

Opening the User Settings Tool: Method 2

There is a much faster way of getting to the User Settings Tool. Try this instead:

  1. Click Activities.

  2. Type users.

  3. Click Users Add or remove users and change your password.

    Screenshot of an alternative method of opening the User Settings tool.
  4. You now have access to the user settings.

Adding Users

Now it’s time to add a new user. In order to do this, you must first unlock the Settings tool. To do that, click Unlock and then, when prompted, type your user password.

Screenshot of unlocking the User Setting tool.

Now that you’ve unlocked the tool, follow these steps to add a new user:

  1. Click Add User.

    Screenshot of the Add User button.
  2. Enter the necessary information for the user (a full name, select a username from the drop-down, select Allow user to set a password when they next login) and then (when finished) click Add.

    Screenshot of adding the new user.
  3. Inform the user they’ve been added to the system.

If the user is an administrative user, make sure to select Administrator for the Account Type. If the user shouldn’t have any administrative privileges, leave them as a standard user.

Administrator Users

The difference between a Standard and Administrator user is the ability to perform administrative tasks, such as installing software or making any changes outside of the user’s home directory. Unless you want those new users to be able to make changes to your system, make sure they are of the type Standard.

When a new user goes to log in for the first time, they will be prompted to create and confirm a password.

Screenshot of the user password prompt.

Keep Adding

And that’s all there is to adding new users to Linux, via the GNOME Desktop Environment. Keep adding users, as you can add as many as your system can hold. Just remember, the more users you have, the more space they will consume. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure, for systems that will host numerous users, that the hard drive is large enough to house any files those users might save to their home directory.