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Linux commands: su

Published Sep 20 2020

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While you’re logged in to the terminal shell with one user, you might have the need to switch to another user.

For example you’re logged in as root to perform some maintenance, but then you want to switch to a user account.

You can do so with the su command:

su <username>

For example: su flavio.

If you’re logged in as a user, running su without anything else will prompt to enter the root user password, as that’s the default behavior.

su will start a new shell as another user.

When you’re done, typing exit in the shell will close that shell, and will return back to the current user’s shell.

The su command works on Linux. On macOS it will not work unless you enable the root user (tip: you can use sudo instead)



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