I ran

sudo userdel <username>

but I received the following error

userdel: cannot remove entry '<username>' from /etc/passwd

I check the /etc/passwd file and I indeed cannot find an entry for the username - I CTRL+F'd through to check.

Help would be really appreciated, already used to the search bar and no satisfactory answers turned up.



I believe I know what may be the issue. The user I am trying to delete does not authenticate locally, but on a network as the login is the same as my university login details which is why it is not locally storing details in /etc/passwd - The question is now how can I delete this sort of user that is authenticating over a network - Could someone help me with that?

EDIT2: Upon request below is the contents of /etc/nsswitch.conf

passwd:         files
group:          files
shadow:         files
gshadow:        files

hosts:          files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns
networks:       files

protocols:      db files
services:       db files sss
ethers:         db files
rpc:            db files

netgroup:       nis
sudoers:        sss
  • You've replaced the username with "<username>"? If you're doing that for privacy reasons please give a similar example of the username. – jdwolf Nov 17 '17 at 17:40
  • say i created a user called user1 - sudo userdel user1 - and I received in return "userdel: cannot remove entry user1 from /etc/passwd" – wrahman Nov 17 '17 at 17:41
  • Can you repeat that behavior? like if you useradd user2 then userdel user2? – jdwolf Nov 17 '17 at 17:47
  • Yep, I can confirm it works fine if I add a new user I can then delete the new user fine. It might be worth stating that this computer already came with a user (university provided), I created a new user and am now trying to remove the old user. I have full root and admin privileges on both accounts – wrahman Nov 17 '17 at 17:49
  • 1
    Have you tried using the userdel command with the -r switch? Also, have you tried using deluser to remove the user account? – Terrance Nov 17 '17 at 17:52

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