I installed a fresh Ubuntu Gnome 14.04.3 today, but I just notice that I reversed the username and hostname during installation.

To illustrate this, when I open a terminal, the prompt looks like :


instead of


It is the unique user (so it is the normal admin).

How can I fix this problem ?

  • 1
    If it's a fresh system, you may find more convenient to simply reinstall it with the right data.
    – Ángel
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


Changing the hostname

Change the hostname in the following two files:

  • /etc/hostname
  • /etc/hosts

(You'll need to use sudo to edit these files. Eg. sudo nano /etc/hostname)

Changing the username

First, set a password for root:

sudo su
passwd root

Then reboot the machine. When you see the login screen, switch to a virtual terminal using CtrlAltF4. Login with the username root and the password you set previously.

It's now safe to change the username using the following three steps:

  1. Rename the user:

    usermod -l newUsername oldUsername
  2. Change the name of the user directory and all daughter directories to match the new username and update the filepaths:

    mv /home/oldUsername* /home/newUsername*
  3. Update the user database:

    usermod -d /home/newUsername* -m newUsername
  • Thanks. It Worked for me. :)
    – GS6651
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 9:06
  • what does asterisk in step 2 mean?
    – Divelix
    Commented Mar 13 at 14:49

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