Linux User Listing

There are different users in Linux. Some of them are default and some of them are created later. So, how can we list all these Linux users? What are the commands used to list users in Linux? In this lesson, we will learn different ways of Linux user listing.

 


You can check also Linux file listing lesson. (Linux ls options)


 

Listing users with /etc/passwd

All users in Linux system are stored in /etc/passwd file. You can list users by opening this file with cat, less, tail commands.

 

cat /etc/passwd

less /etc/passwd

tail /etc/passwd

 

root@kali:/home/kali# cat /etc/passwd

root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash

daemon:x:1:1:daemon:/usr/sbin:/usr/sbin/nologin

bin:x:2:2:bin:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin

sys:x:3:3:sys:/dev:/usr/sbin/nologin

sync:x:4:65534:sync:/bin:/bin/sync

games:x:5:60:games:/usr/games:/usr/sbin/nologin

man:x:6:12:man:/var/cache/man:/usr/sbin/nologin

…

 

You can also use an option to list only some part of these file. For example, to list the last 10 users, you can use “tail -10 /etc/passwd” command.

 

root@kali:/home/kali# tail -10 /etc/passwd

avahi:x:127:135:Avahi mDNS daemon,,,:/var/run/avahi-daemon:/usr/sbin/nologin

saned:x:128:136::/var/lib/saned:/usr/sbin/nologin

inetsim:x:129:138::/var/lib/inetsim:/usr/sbin/nologin

colord:x:130:139:colord colour management daemon,,,:/var/lib/colord:/usr/sbin/nologin

geoclue:x:131:140::/var/lib/geoclue:/usr/sbin/nologin

lightdm:x:132:141:Light Display Manager:/var/lib/lightdm:/bin/false

king-phisher:x:133:142::/var/lib/king-phisher:/usr/sbin/nologin

kali:x:1000:1000:kali,,,:/home/kali:/bin/bash

systemd-coredump:x:999:999:systemd Core Dumper:/:/usr/sbin/nologin

gokhan:x:1001:1001::/home/gokhan:/bin/sh

 

If you would like to list only the names of the users recorded in /etc/passwd, you can use the below command:

awk -F’:’ ‘{ print $1}’ /etc/passwd

 

root@kali:/home/kali# awk -F':' '{ print $1}' /etc/passwd

root

daemon

bin

sys

sync

games

man

lp

mail

news

..

 


You can check Linux Cheat Sheet For Useful Common Linux Commands.


 

Listing Users with getent Command

We can list Linux users with also “getent” command. If we use this command without any filter comman, then it will give all the user information like /etc/passwd.

 

root@kali:/home/kali# getent passwd

root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash

daemon:x:1:1:daemon:/usr/sbin:/usr/sbin/nologin

bin:x:2:2:bin:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin

sys:x:3:3:sys:/dev:/usr/sbin/nologin

sync:x:4:65534:sync:/bin:/bin/sync

games:x:5:60:games:/usr/games:/usr/sbin/nologin

man:x:6:12:man:/var/cache/man:/usr/sbin/nologin

lp:x:7:7:lp:/var/spool/lpd:/usr/sbin/nologin

mail:x:8:8:mail:/var/mail:/usr/sbin/nologin

news:x:9:9:news:/var/spool/news:/usr/sbin/nologin

uucp:x:10:10:uucp:/var/spool/uucp:/usr/sbin/nologin

proxy:x:13:13:proxy:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin

…

 

You can use grep command to get only one user information.

 

root@kali:/home/kali# getent passwd | grep gokhan

gokhan:x:1001:1001::/home/gokhan:/bin/sh

 

To list only usernames with getent command, we can use the below command:

getent passwd | cut -d: -f1

 

root@kali:/home/kali# getent passwd | cut -d: -f1

root

daemon

bin

sys

sync

games

man

lp

mail

news

uucp

….

 


 

Linux User Listing with compgen Command

We can use compgen command for linux user listing. For example, we can use -u option with compgen command and list the names of the users in the linux system.

 

compgen -u

 

root@kali:/home/kali# compgen -u

root

daemon

bin

sys

sync

games

man

lp

mail

news

uucp

…

 


 

How to Count Users in Linux?

We can count the users in our Linux system. To do this, we can use getent command or compgen command by adding wc -l options.

 

Firstly, let’s use getent command with wc -l option to list our user.

getent passwd | wc -l

 

root@kali:/home/kali# getent passwd | wc -l

55

 

Now, let’s use compgen -u command with wc -l option.

compgen -u | wc -l

 

root@kali:/home/kali# compgen -u | wc -l

55

 

Back to: Kali Linux Course

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