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I am trying to set ZSH as my default shell, however it keeps reverting back to bash.

I have tried this code:

sudo chsh -s $(which zsh)

I've also tried:

sudo chsh -s /bin/zsh 

Also tried these commands without sudo. Any ideas on what else I need to do. When running ZSH from within bash it loads up and works fine but I'd like to set it as the default shell.

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up vote 48 down vote accepted

If you use sudo it will change the shell not for your working user but for root. Just using

chsh -s $(which zsh)

without sudo should work (but you need to login again to see the change).

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I have the same problem and the answer doesn't solve it – Aswin Murugesh Jul 21 '13 at 16:11
@AswinMurugesh Check my answer – Shailesh Kalamkar Aug 11 '15 at 5:30
you can also run sudo chsh -s /bin/zsh userName – Dr Gorb Sep 30 '15 at 10:49
Note: I had to restart my system before this would take effect. – KevinO Oct 12 '15 at 0:38

I found this on superuser forum

Open /etc/passwd:

sudo vi /etc/passwd

Find the line with your username:

username:x:1634231:100:Your Name:/home/username:/bin/bash

and replace bash with zsh:

username:x:1634231:100:Your Name:/home/username:/bin/zsh

Log out and log in back for the changes to take effect.

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You should be very careful with this approach - it's not usually the best idea to go mucking around with /etc/passwd – Thomas Ward Jan 7 at 13:13

If zsh is not /bin/zsh then chsh won't work. On Ubuntu it is /usr/bin/zsh. so doing chsh -s /usr/bin/zsh or chsh -s `which zsh` should work. Also need to re-login to desktop session.

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On my Ubuntu VPS it's /bin/zsh – Wilhelm Erasmus Dec 9 '15 at 12:39

Strange, the "accepted" answer didn't work for me as I got

chsh: PAM: Authentication failure

To solve this issue edit your /etc/passwd and make sure it points to the zsh location. (You can find this by running "which zsh") In my case my user called "webmaster" looked like this: enter image description here

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I believe it's supposed to ask for a password. I got the same error on my previous mint install. Current one worked fine though – Wilhelm Erasmus Dec 9 '15 at 12:40

Easiest way is to follow the steps from this tutorial: In your terminal/cli/console:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install zsh
$ sudo apt-get install git-core
$ curl -L >
$ sh

This worked perfectly for me.

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You may also do this:

open your bashrc file in your favourite editor

sudo nano ~/.bashrc

then add the line below top of the file

exec zsh

It will execute the command every time you load the terminal and run your zsh shell.

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and it will also break all your non-interactive jobs (scp for example). – Jakuje Mar 11 at 16:45

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