DELUSER(8) System Manager's Manual DELUSER(8)
deluser, delgroup - remove a user or group from the system
deluser [options] [--force] [--remove-home] [--remove-all-files]
[--backup] [--backup-to DIR] user
deluser --group [options] group
delgroup [options] [--only-if-empty] group
deluser [options] user group
[--quiet] [--system] [--help] [--version] [--conf FILE]
deluser and delgroup remove users and groups from the system according
to command line options and configuration information in
/etc/deluser.conf and /etc/adduser.conf. They are friendlier front
ends to the userdel and groupdel programs, removing the home directory
as option or even all files on the system owned by the user to be
removed, running a custom script, and other features. deluser and del-
group can be run in one of three modes:
Remove a normal user
If called with one non-option argument and without the --group option,
deluser will remove a normal user.
By default, deluser will remove the user without removing the home
directory, the mail spool or any other files on the system owned by
the user. Removing the home directory and mail spool can be achieved
using the --remove-home option.
The --remove-all-files option removes all files on the system owned by
the user. Note that if you activate both options --remove-home will
have no effect because all files including the home directory and mail
spool are already covered by the --remove-all-files option.
If you want to backup all files before deleting them you can activate
the --backup option which will create a file username.tar(.gz|.bz2) in
the directory specified by the --backup-to option (defaulting to the
current working directory). Both the remove and backup options can also
be activated for default in the configuration file /etc/deluser.conf.
See deluser.conf(5) for details.
If you want to remove the root account (uid 0), then use the --force
parameter; this may prevent to remove the root user by accident.
If the file /usr/local/sbin/deluser.local exists, it will be executed
after the user account has been removed in order to do any local
cleanup. The arguments passed to deluser.local are:
username uid gid home-directory
Remove a group
If deluser is called with the --group option, or delgroup is called, a
group will be removed.
Warning: The primary group of an existing user cannot be removed.
If the option --only-if-empty is given, the group won't be removed if
it has any members left.
Remove a user from a specific group
If called with two non-option arguments, deluser will remove a user
from a specific group.
Use FILE instead of the default files /etc/deluser.conf and
Remove a group. This is the default action if the program is
invoked as delgroup.
--help Display brief instructions.
Suppress progress messages.
Only delete if user/group is a system user/group. This avoids
accidentally deleting non-system users/groups. Additionally, if
the user does not exist, no error value is returned. This option
is mainly for use in Debian package maintainer scripts.
Only remove if no members are left.
Backup all files contained in the userhome and the mailspool-
file to a file named /$user.tar.bz2 or /$user.tar.gz.
Place the backup files not in / but in the directory specified
by this parameter. This implicitly sets --backup also.
Remove the home directory of the user and its mailspool. If
--backup is specified, the files are deleted after having per-
formed the backup.
Remove all files from the system owned by this user. Note:
--remove-home does not have an effect any more. If --backup is
specified, the files are deleted after having performed the
Display version and copyright information.
0 The action was successfully executed.
1 The user to delete was not a system account. No action was per-
2 There is no such user. No action was performed.
3 There is no such group. No action was performed.
4 Internal error. No action was performed.
5 The group to delete is not empty. No action was performed.
6 The user does not belong to the specified group. No action was
7 You cannot remove a user from its primary group. No action was
8 The required perl-package 'perl modules' is not installed. This
package is required to perform the requested actions. No action
9 For removing the root account the parameter "--force" is
required. No action was performed.
/etc/deluser.conf Default configuration file for deluser and delgroup
Optional custom add-ons.
adduser(8), deluser.conf(5), groupdel(8), userdel(8)
Copyright (C) 2000 Roland Bauerschmidt. Modifications (C) 2004 Marc
Haber and Joerg Hoh. This manpage and the deluser program are based on
adduser which is:
Copyright (C) 1997, 1998, 1999 Guy Maor.
Copyright (C) 1995 Ted Hajek, with a great deal borrowed from the orig-
inal Debian adduser
Copyright (C) 1994 Ian Murdock. deluser is free software; see the GNU
General Public Licence version 2 or later for copying conditions.
There is no warranty.
Debian GNU/Linux Version 3.116ubuntu1 DELUSER(8)
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