I can do an su with su <username> and it asks for my password. Is there a password parameter for su such that i wont be prompted for a password?

e.g. su <username> -p <password>


3 Answers 3


If you want to write a script that runs as a different user something like this works, though it dows output the word "password" without a newline to standard out

su - username <<!
enter commands to run as the new user

if you have a user named fred with a password of 1234 and want to get an ls of fred's home directory as fred, without the password string displayed, it would look like

su - fred <<! >/dev/null 2>&1
whoami > /dev/tty
ls > /dev/tty
  • 2
    hmm, 'standard in must be a tty' Feb 9, 2017 at 13:46
  • I get the same error
    – MaxV
    Nov 2, 2017 at 13:09
  • 16
    Getting Error: su: must be run from a terminal. Feb 5, 2018 at 10:04
  • 1
    Getting su: Sorry Jun 3, 2020 at 17:16

I belive, there is not and it would not be a good idea. Here's why:
If you write a password in a command like su <username> -p <password>, it would be stored in plain text in your bash history. This is certainly a huge security issue.

If you need to run commands with su (or sudo) in an automated way, write a shellscript containig the commands without su or sudo and run su <username> script.sh

  • 3
    su root script still need to enter passwd. Feb 15, 2017 at 5:00
  • @DaiKaixian yes, but it is not saved anywhere and nobody can read it
    – Wayne_Yux
    Feb 15, 2017 at 7:45
  • 2
    you can try something like : echo <passwd> | sudo -S <command-line>.Althought it is not safe, but it works. Feb 15, 2017 at 7:53
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    the whole point of my answer is, that it is not save to write a password in a command. So I advise to not do that
    – Wayne_Yux
    Feb 15, 2017 at 7:58
  • It's only a security issue if you care about the user not being accessed by anyone else. In my case, for example, I just want a new user with no permissions to use for running an external script that I don't trust.
    – Jezor
    Aug 11, 2020 at 8:58

If you want to execute some specific commands as a new user, use the following command:
sudo -u {username} {command to be executed as the new user}

  • This does not answer the question. The question is about how to handle the password.
    – Stephen C
    Aug 30, 2018 at 1:07

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