Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I don't care if I mess up the system (which is likely if I do things like this), or the potential security issues that this could imply. Note, that I don't just want to "enable root login?", but run my GUI from bottom-up as root. I don't want to type my password for anything but just for login and have total control over it.

Of course, I want any application running as root, like Firefox, LibreOffice, etc. without having to mess up with the terminal. So, how do I do this?

This question tries to address users that do not like the current permission system with root being separated from normal users. I do not endorse such behaviors, but if a user wants to, for whatever reason, this question should fit their corncerns.

Not advisable for new users

share|improve this question
I suggest s/new users/any users/. – guntbert Aug 15 '15 at 19:52
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Read this before doing anything Why is it bad to run as root?

First of all, you must set root 's password.

sudo passwd root
Enter new UNIX password:

Now you have root password. Now activate the root account:

sudo usermod -U root

Then you should allow lightdm, gdm or kdm to allow logging in as root.

To enable this:


Edit /etc/gdm/custom.conf file and include AllowRoot=true.


Edit /etc/kde4/kdm/kdmrc file and change AllowRootLogin=false for AllowRootLogin=true.

In LightDM

This procedure enables the "Other" menu, so you can type the username root and login. You must edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf and add greeter-show-manual-login=true. Then reboot.

Others session managers have other methods to accomplish this.

As you have noticed I gave the instructions but by any circumstance you should not run the GUI as root. Murphy's Law says that it is likely that you mess up somehow and will be annoyed starting again.

I played around enough, how do I go back?

To disable root login just type:

sudo passwd -dl root

Then revert the changes on the files above. Did it feel good having super-cow powers?

share|improve this answer

I've used nodm for this purpose on a LiveCD respin I had put together once upon a time.

sudo apt-get install nodm

Then configure it to enable and configure the user to use:

sudo vi /etc/default/nodm
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.