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I want to grant a newly created user sudo privileges in Ubuntu.

I tried

sudo adduser hduser admin

but it says no admin group exists. How can I do it?

marked as duplicate by Florian Diesch, Seth, chaskes, Eric Carvalho, Warren Hill Nov 22 '13 at 13:35

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  • What is the output of sudo visudo? – Mitch Jul 26 '12 at 8:19
  • 1
    This was changed recently, which is the reason for the confusion. – Adrian Jul 26 '12 at 8:29
  • sudo adduser <username> sudo - did the trick for me. Second sudo is the group name instead of sudo – Jamess Sep 21 '12 at 12:28
up vote 188 down vote accepted

You need to add the user hduser to the sudo group (which is the "administrators" group in Ubuntu).

If you have already created the user, you can add the user to the sudo group by running the following command in a Terminal:

sudo usermod -a -G sudo hduser
  • 37
    Note that the user must log off, then back on again for this change to take effect. – Jacob Foshee Jul 5 '13 at 16:01
  • 3
    not working ubuntu 14 – Ashish Ratan Jan 8 '16 at 6:23
  • Usage: usermod [options] LOGIN Options: -c, --comment COMMENT new value of the GECOS field -d, --home HOME_DIR new home directory for the user account -e, --expiredate EXPIRE_DATE set account expiration date to EXPIRE_DATE -f, --inactive INACTIVE set password inactive after expiration to INACTIVE -g, --gid GROUP force use GROUP as new primary group -G, --groups GROUPS new list of supplementary GROUPS -a, --append append the user to the supplemental GROUPS – Ashish Ratan Jan 8 '16 at 6:24
  • No problem here using ubuntu 14. Thx. – joedragons Jan 26 '16 at 20:09
  • Yes , @JacobFoshee is right - "user must log off, then back on again for this change to take effect." – vivekyad4v Nov 4 '16 at 14:43

Instead you can try,

sudo adduser hduser sudo

In Ubuntu you need to add the user only to the group sudo.

1) Become root. You can do this using sudo -i or becoming root the old fashioned way su -

2) Run visudo

3) I changed this portion of the sudoers file to have my chosen users become sudo users, and you can add users similarly (blank lines introduce to format cleanly):

## User Aliases
## These aren't often necessary, as you can use regular groups
## (ie, from files, LDAP, NIS, etc) in this file - just use %groupname
## rather than USERALIAS
# User_Alias ADMINS = jsmith, mikem dbadmin 
ALL=(ALL) ALL
ics ALL=(ALL) ALL 
csm ALL=(ALL) ALL 
coa ALL=(ALL) ALL

4) Press : and x to write the changes to sudoers and exit vi.

  • 3
    This seems needlessly complicated. Why bother running visudo when the adduser command will do what you want? – Dan Dascalescu Jul 11 '14 at 9:29
  • 2
    @dan-dascalescu - $ sudo adduser username sudo won't work if the 'sudo' group does not exist. So adding the user manually is certainly an option. However, it's certainly more elegant to create a sudo group, add it to the sudoers file (e.g. via visudo), then add the appropriate user(s) to that user group. – Jarrett Barnett Oct 2 '15 at 17:47
  • @JarrettBarnett That was the case for me. Thank you for your answer. – Marcel Mar 21 '16 at 22:47

Edit the sudoers file: sudo visudo

and add:

user    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
  • 10
    Why bother editing /etc/sudoers when the adduser command will work? – Dan Dascalescu Jul 11 '14 at 9:29
  • @Zanna You have edited sudo visudo /etc/sudoers Is it correct? AFAIK, it is either sudo visudo or sudo nano /etc/sudoers – d a i s y Feb 18 '17 at 8:29
  • ah @Lnux you're right, but you should always use visudo to edit /etc/sudoers because it stops you from making a fatal syntax error. I corrected – Zanna Feb 18 '17 at 8:32

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