USERDEL(8)                (02/07/2020)                 USERDEL(8)

          userdel - delete a user account and related files

          userdel [options] LOGIN

          userdel is a low level utility for removing users. On
          Debian, administrators should usually use deluser(8)

          The userdel command modifies the system account files,
          deleting all entries that refer to the user name LOGIN. The
          named user must exist.

          The options which apply to the userdel command are:

          -f, --force
              This option forces the removal of the user account, even
              if the user is still logged in. It also forces userdel
              to remove the user's home directory and 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.

              Note: This option is dangerous and may leave your system
              in an inconsistent state.

          -h, --help
              Display help message and exit.

          -r, --remove
              Files in the user's home directory will be removed along
              with the home directory itself and the user's 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 file.

          -R, --root CHROOT_DIR
              Apply changes in the CHROOT_DIR directory and use the
              configuration files from the CHROOT_DIR directory.

          -P, --prefix PREFIX_DIR
              Apply changes in the PREFIX_DIR directory and use the

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              configuration files from the PREFIX_DIR directory. This
              option does not chroot and is intended for preparing a
              cross-compilation target. Some limitations: NIS and LDAP
              users/groups are not verified. PAM authentication is
              using the host files. No SELINUX support.

          -Z, --selinux-user
              Remove any SELinux user mapping for the user's login.

          The following configuration variables in /etc/login.defs
          change the behavior of this tool:

          MAIL_DIR (string)
              The mail spool directory. This is needed to manipulate
              the mailbox when its corresponding user account is
              modified or deleted. If not specified, a compile-time
              default is used.

          MAIL_FILE (string)
              Defines the location of the users mail spool files
              relatively to their home directory.

          The MAIL_DIR and MAIL_FILE variables are used by useradd,
          usermod, and userdel to create, move, or delete the user's
          mail spool.

          MAX_MEMBERS_PER_GROUP (number)
              Maximum members per group entry. When the maximum is
              reached, a new group entry (line) is started in
              /etc/group (with the same name, same password, and same

              The default value is 0, meaning that there are no limits
              in the number of members in a group.

              This feature (split group) permits to limit the length
              of lines in the group file. This is useful to make sure
              that lines for NIS groups are not larger than 1024

              If you need to enforce such limit, you can use 25.

              Note: split groups may not be supported by all tools
              (even in the Shadow toolsuite). You should not use this
              variable unless you really need it.

          USERDEL_CMD (string)
              If defined, this command is run when removing a user. It
              should remove any at/cron/print jobs etc. owned by the
              user to be removed (passed as the first argument).

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              The return code of the script is not taken into account.

              Here is an example script, which removes the user's
              cron, at and print jobs:

                  #! /bin/sh

                  # Check for the required argument.
                  if [ $# != 1 ]; then
                       echo "Usage: $0 username"
                       exit 1

                  # Remove cron jobs.
                  crontab -r -u $1

                  # Remove at jobs.
                  # Note that it will remove any jobs owned by the same UID,
                  # even if it was shared by a different username.
                  find $AT_SPOOL_DIR -name "[^.]*" -type f -user $1 -delete \;

                  # Remove print jobs.
                  lprm $1

                  # All done.
                  exit 0

          USERGROUPS_ENAB (boolean)
              If set to yes, userdel will remove the user's group if
              it contains no more members, and useradd will create by
              default a group with the name of the user.

              Group account information.

              Shadow password suite configuration.

              User account information.

              Secure user account information.

              Per user subordinate group IDs.


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              Per user subordinate user IDs.

          The userdel command exits with the following values:


              can't update password file

              invalid command syntax

              specified user doesn't exist

              user currently logged in

              can't update group file

              can't remove home directory

          userdel will not allow you to remove an account if there are
          running processes which belong to this account. In that
          case, you may have to kill those processes or lock the
          user's password or account and remove the account later. The
          -f option can force the deletion of this account.

          You should manually check all file systems to ensure that no
          files remain owned by this user.

          You may not remove any NIS attributes on a NIS client. This
          must be performed on the NIS server.

          If USERGROUPS_ENAB is defined to yes in /etc/login.defs,
          userdel will delete the group with the same name as the
          user. To avoid inconsistencies in the passwd and group
          databases, userdel will check that this group is not used as
          a primary group for another user, and will just warn without
          deleting the group otherwise. The -f option can force the
          deletion of this group.

          chfn(1), chsh(1), passwd(1), login.defs(5), gpasswd(8),
          groupadd(8), groupdel(8), groupmod(8), subgid(5), subuid(5),
          useradd(8), usermod(8).

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