How to Delete User Account in Linux

There is an easy way to delete the user account on linux which is using userdel command. You can read the manual page of this userdel command by typing ‘man userdel‘ at you terminal as below:

           userdel - delete a user account and related files
           userdel [options] LOGIN
           The userdel command modifies the system account files, deleting all
           entries that refer to login_name. The named user must exist.
           The options which apply to the userdel command are:
           -f, --force
              This option forces the removal of the user, even if she is still logged
              in. It also forces userdel to remove the userâs home directory or her
              mail spool, even if another user uses the same home directory or if the
              mail spool is not owned by the specified user. If USERGROUPS_ENAB is
              defined to yes in /etc/login.defs and if a group exists with the same
              name as the deleted user, then this group will be removed, even if it
              is still the primary group of another user.
           -r, --remove
              Files in the userâs home directory will be removed along with the home
              directory itself and the user mail spool. Files located in other file
              systems will have to be searched for and deleted manually.
              The mail spool is defined by the MAIL_DIR variable in the login.defs

Example :

    [root@server ~]# userdel -r testroot
    [root@server ~]# find / -name testroot
    [root@server ~]#

Userdel with option -r will removed user’s home directory and the user’s mail spool

    [root@server ~]# userdel demoroot
    [root@server ~]# find / -name demoroot
    [root@server ~]#

Userdel without -r will only removed user from /etc/passwd, /etc/group and /etc/shadow but the following directory still exist.


To remove this directory manually, you have to run below command:

    [root@server ~]# rm -rf /var/spool/mail/demoroot
    [root@server ~]# rm -rf /home/demoroot

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