Sometimes when there are too many users logged in it can cause my computer to become very slow and laggy due to low amount of available RAM. I would like to be able to quickly log out the other users from the command line instead of manually switching into each user and logging them out.

Is this possible?

3 Answers 3


this is one answer

who -u

that give you the PID

Then you can kill the user session.

kill "pid"
  • 4
    This works but it has some strange side effects.
    – Isaiah
    Nov 8, 2010 at 23:16
  • 3
    @DoR ...which are..?
    – Oli
    Nov 8, 2010 at 23:48
  • 4
    @Oli Such as GDM restarting, and trying to switch to a user that I killed not working.
    – Isaiah
    Nov 8, 2010 at 23:56
  • 3
    @AlvinRow If you execute ps auxf then you notice (left-most column has effective username) that this method doesn't kill all the processes which are executed by the current user (so probably you aren't logged out). The method of @precise seems to attend to this problem, though I don't feel comfortable with sending SIGKILL.
    – Dor
    Sep 29, 2016 at 23:13
  • 1
    I'm surprised there isn't something like with shutdown so it can give warning (allowing work to be saved) before forcibly logging out. That would optionally just switch to the login as if changing sessions, leaving the user session running in the background.
    – pbhj
    Nov 25, 2018 at 19:51

You may use who to check which users are logged in:


You can log-out the user by sending the KILL signal to the user-process with:

sudo pkill -KILL -u <username>

(which is same as sudo pkill -9 -u <username>)


sudo pkill -9 -u guest-2Rw4Lq

(to kill a guest session user named guest-2Rw4Lq)

Note (kudos to pbhj): If you get locked in a console, use Ctrl+Alt+F7 to get back to the GUI.

  • 2
    This worked best for me. Simply running kill "pid" left a ton of processes by the user still running, where this killed them all.
    – Matt Baer
    Aug 30, 2015 at 18:42
  • 1
    Why SIGKILL and not the default SIGTERM ? The SIGKILL isn't healthy..
    – Dor
    Sep 29, 2016 at 23:06
  • sudo pkill -KILL -u <username> for me switched me to the first console session; I thought it killed my current session but ctrl+alt+F7 brought me back to the current graphical session.
    – pbhj
    Mar 8, 2017 at 20:22
  • -1: This command somehow triggered a higher priority process that never died, I had to restart the machine to kick the user.
    – RSFalcon7
    Nov 13, 2019 at 14:57
who -u

> adam     ttys000  Aug  4 09:22   .       91228 


sudo kill 'PID number'
sudo kill 91228

PID (process ID) is the four or five digit number at the end of the user readout (91228)


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