1.7. The Basics of Managing User Accounts

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is a multi-user operating system, which enables multiple users on different computers to access a single system installed on one machine. Every user operates under its own account, and managing user accounts thus represents a core element of Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administration.

Normal and System Accounts

Normal accounts are created for users of a particular system. Such accounts can be added, removed, and modified during normal system administration.
System accounts represent a particular applications identifier on a system. Such accounts are generally added or manipulated only at software installation time, and they are not modified later.


System accounts are presumed to be available locally on a system. If these accounts are configured and provided remotely, such as in the instance of an LDAP configuration, system breakage and service start failures can occur.
For system accounts, user IDs below 1000 are reserved. For normal accounts, you can use IDs starting at 1000. However, the recommended practice is to assign IDs starting at 5000. See Section 4.1, “Introduction to Users and Groups” for more information. The guidelines for assigning IDs can be found in the /etc/login.defs file.
# Min/max values for automatic uid selection in useradd
UID_MIN                  1000
UID_MAX                 60000
# System accounts
SYS_UID_MIN               201
SYS_UID_MAX               999

What Groups Are and Which Purposes They Can Be Used For

A group is an entity which ties together multiple user accounts for a common purpose, such as granting access to particular files.

1.7.1. The Most Basic Command-Line Tools to Manage User Accounts and Groups

The most basic tasks to manage user accounts and groups, and the appropriate command-line tools, include:
  • Displaying user and group IDs:
    ~]$ id
  • Creating a new user account:
    ~]# useradd [options] user_name
  • Assigning a new password to a user account belonging to username:
    ~]# passwd user_name
  • Adding a user to a group:
    ~]# usermod -a -G group_name user_name
For detailed information on managing users and groups, see Chapter 4, Managing Users and Groups.
If you want to use graphical user interface to manage users and groups, see Section 4.2, “Managing Users in a Graphical Environment”.

1.7.2. Managing User Accounts in Cockpit

To manage accounts in Cockpit, select the Accounts menu.
Managing User Accounts in Cockpit

Figure 1.4. Managing User Accounts in Cockpit