Provided by: passwd_4.2-3.1ubuntu5.4_amd64 bug


       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) instead.

       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.

       -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 GID).

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

           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

           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.

           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

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

       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).