• How-to Modify the Default User Settings in Linux

    by  • 2009/10/05 • How-to, Linux, Linux Mint, Ubuntu • 2 Comments

    Just like my other two posts here is how you can modify your default user settings in Linux. This is similar to OSX but instead of “/System/Library/User Templates/English.lproj” being our template directory. It is “/etc/skel”.skel_directory
    The skel directory stands for skeleton and it is where the default files and settings come from when you create a new user in Linux. The skel directory is a lot more basic than Windows or OSX mainly because A) not much is needed to create a Linux profile and B) all of the configuration files are stored in plan text and not some fancy .plist or .dat file.
    Typically, most distros will only include three files in their “/etc/skel” directory. Those files are “.bash_logout”, “.bash_profile”, and “.bashrc”. If you want to include any more files/settings you can simply edit the configuration in your profile (or a temporary user), copy the setting files to the “/etc/skel” directory, and chown the files with root:root.new_user
    What if you don’t want to overwrite the files that came with your distro but you still want to make a skeleton directory? Simple, edit the “/etc/adduser.conf” file and set the SKEL value to whatever you want. Just make sure that the folder is available to root when you are trying to create the new user. In other words, don’t put the folder on a removable drive.
    If you are using the GUI to create the new user the files and settings will be copied automatically and if you are using the adduser command just make sure you use the -m flag.
    That is really all there is too it. Let me know if you have more tips for creating a user profile or if this helped you out in the comments.


    Avid learner with a passion for technology and people. He is always trying new things or taking something apart to make it better.

    2 Responses to How-to Modify the Default User Settings in Linux

    1. Anonymous
      2011/10/11 at 08:35

      Your a frickin’ life saver. I’ve been looking for this for ages!
      Definetely going to add you to my RSS reader 😀

      • Typhooonn
        2014/04/13 at 10:42

        ages ???????

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