Im fairly new to ubuntu so bear with me on this. I was doing an assignment for my CSCI 323 class that required Manually adding a new user and my problem came about after I followed these instructions:

[ Step 5 - Set owner/group for the home directory. Make joe the owner and group ID of the directory. Use the chown and chgrp commands to set this, if necessary (if you need help with these commands, try the man pages). Hint: try using the command "chown joe:joe joe" to change the owner and group on the users home directory with one command.

Next, set the permissions for the directory. I won't go into details on binary or octal numbers here, but you'll want to set the permissions so that the owner as read, write, and execute permissions and group and world has no permissions. Do this with the following command:

chmod 700 ]

I thought I did it correctly, but upon logging out and trying to log back in, I found that I could not log into any account anymore. Whenever I enter my password, the screen flashes black and shows some code for half a second and returns. I tried logging in via Ctrl+Alt+F2 but my password is incorrect for my admin account but it DOES allow me to get on the Demo account I made. I have a feeling I screwed up with the group ID and owner.

Any help would be much appreciated.


1 Answer 1


To set the owner (-R for recursive):

sudo chown -R joe:joe /home/joe

To set the permissions:

sudo chmod -R 700 /home/joe

To change password:

sudo passwd joe
  • I can't run sudo on the Demo account
    – Caleb
    Feb 28, 2013 at 20:16
  • So, don't you have the password for neither joe nor root? If this is the case, you'll probably have to do it outside the running system (i.e. using a live CD) to have the permission.
    – Balgerda
    Feb 28, 2013 at 20:28
  • It's not that I don't have the passwords, it's just neither of them work in the GUI or alternate login EXCEPT the Demo user and it only works when I log in with the Ctrl+alt+F1. I can't use sudo from there because the account isn't an administrator
    – Caleb
    Feb 28, 2013 at 20:42
  • Then do Ctrl+Alt+F1 and login as root or joe in the Command Line Interface. If you have the password, you should be able to login. The password for GUI and CLI is the same.
    – Balgerda
    Feb 28, 2013 at 21:14
  • To add to what Balgerda wrote. To live tt1 session press CTRL+ALT+F7.
    – all4naija
    Feb 28, 2013 at 22:12

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