How to Grant Normal User Root Privileges in Linux with Examples

The “root” super user is the king of users in Linux/Unix. Having root access grants full and unlimited access to the Linux box. I will show you how to allow root access to a user in a Linux system. Typically, root level access is used in system administration. So it is always a pain to give root access to other users. You need to be careful and should withdraw the access once the need to do so is over.

According to Linux file system permissions, root or super user has full permission to read(r), write (w) and execute(x)  any file. By default root user id is '0'.

I am going to create two users namely user1 and user2. Then I will show you how to give root access to user1 .

Method  1: Adding to Root Group using usermod

Let see how we can grant normal user root access by adding to root group.

[[email protected] Desktop]# adduser user1
[[email protected] Desktop]# adduser user2
[[email protected] Desktop]# groupadd test

These are the groups I have in my Linux box.

[[email protected] /]# groups
root bin daemon sys adm disk wheel

I am going to add user1 to root group as follows:

[[email protected] Desktop]# usermod -G root user1

The command given below provides the existing user with the root privilege

[[email protected] Desktop]# usermod -g 0 -o root_user

Method 2: Adding to Root Group using Useradd Command

I have added a new user, 'user3' to the root group using one single command:

[[email protected] /]# useradd -m -G root user3
[[email protected] /]# groups user3
user3 : user3 root

Another option using useradd command

Useradd -c “Imitation Root” -d /home/root_user -m -k /etc/skel -s /bin/bash -u 0 -o -g root root_user

Method 3: Editing /etc/passwd file

Edit /etc/passwd for the particular user. Change the user's UID and GID to '0'. This will give root permissions to user.


Now, temproot user should have root privilege:


Note: This is not the recommended method for granting root access

Method 4: Setting as Sudo User

The sudo configuration file is /etc/sudoers and you can edit this file using visudo command: # visudo.

Using visudo protects from conflicts and guarantees that the right syntax is used.

To give full access to specific users

Add the entry given below in the file:

bob, tom ALL=(ALL) ALL

Following this method is not a good idea because this allows both bob and tom to use the su command to grant themselves permanent root privileges. Thereby skipping the command logging features of sudo.

Granting access to specific files to one particular user

This entry allows bob and all the other members of the group operator to gain access to all the program files in the /sbin and /usr/sbin directories, as well as the privilege of running the command /usr/oracle/

bob, %operator ALL= /sbin/, /usr/sbin, /usr/oracle/

If you have any questions or thoughts to share on this topic, use the feedback form.

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Bobbin Zachariah 1:18 pm

About Bobbin Zachariah

Founder of LinOxide, passionate lover of Linux and technology writer. Started his career in Linux / Opensource from 2000. Love traveling, blogging and listening music. Reach Bobbin Zachariah about me page and google plus page.

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  1. I tried method 3 and found it to be dangerous. After making the suggested changes, I was not able to login to my user. Please re check the procedure again