When I open the terminal, a name is displayed before I type any command as follows:


What specific steps do I take to change the display name?


This actually displays your username@computername: along with the current directory and a $ sign, which usually means a non-root user, whereas a # sign would mean that you have root permissions.

Now, to only change what's displayed, you can edit your ~/.bashrc file. Open it with your favorite text editor and make changes to the line that starts with PS1=.

If you have more than one line starting with PS1=, try changing them one by one, while saving the .bashrc file and opening a new terminal each time, to see if you edited the right one.

To just experiment with what's displayed, without messing up anything, you can type export PS1="whatever you want". Once you close and reopen the terminal, it will set the value of PS1 back to the one in your ~/.bashrc file.

To actually change your username or computer name, there are already excellent answers:

You will need to log out and log in again to see the changes, unless you're changing the name of your computer, for which you'll need to reboot the machine.

  • Also, there are at least 3 lines in .bashrc starting with PS1= and the reader can't tell from your post which one to edit, or how. – Zanna Aug 27 '16 at 12:34
  • Can you give me an example? The PS1 variable may be used in some condtitional statements, but there's usually only one line that begins with PS1=. – Brane Aug 27 '16 at 12:35
  • I don't see how you can say it's fully answered unless you assume the OP understands all the codes used in PS1, and how the conditional statements (have a look, 3 lines start like that) work in .bashrc. I don't find guidance for this in your post... – Zanna Aug 27 '16 at 12:38
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    My answer clearly states "a line that begins with PS1". I tried to provide a quick and easy answer. I welcome you to explain in depth how variables, conditional statements and colors work in bash/dash, but I doubt that's what the OP wanted answered. – Brane Aug 27 '16 at 12:42
  • Well editing one of them at random has a 2/3 chance of having no effect at all ;) And without explanation, how will they get what they want ?(which is unclear from the question imo) – Zanna Aug 27 '16 at 12:47

The first administrator is your username, and the second one is the name of the computer (hostname). You can make another account with different username and rename your computer, but I suspect you don't want to do that. You can put whatever you like in your prompt in the terminal. The following variable determine, what are you going to see as a prompt:

  • PS1 – Default interactive prompt (this is the variable most often customized)
  • PS2 – Continuation interactive prompt (when a long command is broken up with \ at the end of the line) default=">"
  • PS3 – Prompt used by “select” loop inside a shell script
  • PS4 – Prompt used when a shell script is executed in debug mode (“set -x” will turn this on) default ="++"
  • PROMPT_COMMAND - If this variable is set and has a non-null value, then it will be executed just before the PS1 variable.

Take look here:

Experiment with these variable and find out what you want :) For example:

export PS1="Hello.Master$ "

If you want your prompt changes to make permanent, you can put them in many places like:

  • /etc/bash.bashrc
  • ~/profile
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    I would suggest export PS1='Hello master $ ' instead as an example. – jlliagre Aug 27 '16 at 13:29
  • how to change it back to default ? – Yash Kumar Verma Dec 29 '19 at 6:16

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