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This question already has an answer here:

Short version

Can I just edit the /etc/hosts file, meaning can I login as user@<hostname I wish to change> without unintentionally breaking something? Would this be enough or is there something else to do?


Long version

I'm trying to create an Ubuntu 16 guest OS in VirtualBox on a Windows 10 host. I have downloaded the Ubuntu 16 .vdi from oxboxes.org, but I don't like the fact that I have to login as osboxes@osboxes. Ultimately I want to login as ab@ab.

First I changed the user name using usermod as described here in @ValentinUveges answer. This worked and so I can now at least login as ab@osboxes. To change @osboxes to @ab I have tried groupmod -n ab osboxes, but this failed.

But at least I think what I really need to change is the /etc/hosts file, which currently contains

cat /etc/hosts  
127.0.0.1   localhost  
127.0.1.1   osboxes

So can I just edit /etc/hosts and change osboxes to ab in order to allow me to login as ab@ab without unintentionally breaking some parts of the OS? Would this be enough or is there something else to do?

Apart from the steps I mentioned before, this is a "fresh" osboxes.vdi virtual operating system file.

marked as duplicate by muru, heemayl, Zanna, Kevin Bowen, Elder Geek Feb 14 '17 at 17:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    Please do not post text or textfiles as screenshots or images.# – Thomas Feb 13 '17 at 15:32
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    Perhaps I need to phrase it to something like "how can I change the login name from osboxes@osboxes to bespokeUser@bespokeHostname", will consider doing this for when I have more time. Reckon it will change the duplicated status/help future searchers? – hello_there_andy Feb 14 '17 at 0:10
  • touché @muru, is it possible to flag a post as double-duplicate? It seems that might need to be done here as is – hello_there_andy Feb 14 '17 at 14:02
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    @hello_there_andy sure, if users VTC as duplicate of different posts, the post will be closed as a duplicate of all of them – muru Feb 14 '17 at 14:03
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To change the host name persistently, you will have to change it in two files.
In the Ubuntu guest system open a terminal and execute these commands :

sudo nano /etc/hostname ... now edit the file (change the host name).

Press Ctrl + X to close the file and confirm the change by pressing Y.

sudo nano /etc/hosts ... now edit the file (change the host name).

Press Ctrl + X to close the file and confirm the change by pressing Y.

Then reboot the virtual operating system - now the host name has changed.
Additional information : Changing the host name this way is completely safe.

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Short Answer:

Yes you can.

Full Answer:

If you do so, you'll have to restart the system to take the changes into effect. Once restarted, the hostname would be changed to "ab" and this change would be persistent. If you want your system to change the hostname only for the current boot, you can use

sudo hostname ab

This change will not be persistent and will be reversed as soon as you restart.

Hope it helps.

  • Cheers, a bit of confusion as to why the change will not be permanent, how can I make this permanent then? – hello_there_andy Feb 13 '17 at 17:34
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    @hello_there_andy : As I mentioned, If you edit the file, the changes will persist but if you simply choose to execute sudo hostname ab, the changes will be reversed after reboot. – 7_R3X Feb 13 '17 at 18:02
  • You basically need to do both, tell the kernel using the hostname command, and change /etc/hostname, because a startup script will call hostname with the contents of that file. – Simon Richter Feb 14 '17 at 9:54
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    "Once restarted, the hostname would be permanently changed to "ab"." It's not permanent; you can change it again. The correct term is "persistent". – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 14 '17 at 11:37
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit: Thanks for putting some light on the term. I really appreciate. I've edited my answer to reflect the changes. – 7_R3X Feb 14 '17 at 18:28

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