I recently set up a new user using "adduser username" on my server and noticed that when I login I get:


Also, with my new user there is no folder highlighting, or tab completion.

However when I login as root I get a full terminal prompt plus highlighting, completion etc.


Anyone have any idea what I did wrong?

Edit: Solution was to type

chsh -s /bin/bash

While logged in with the $.

  • For me a password was requested on execution of the command. (the user-pw). As well to mention: you need to re-login to enable the new settings (debian-jessie) – Alex Apr 30 '15 at 11:55

Your new user's login shell has been set to /bin/sh, which on Ubuntu is dash. This is a shell intended to be small and fast, to run scripts efficiently. It doesn't have any interactive features. Change your shell to zsh (better) or bash (more common):

chsh -s /bin/bash

If you want to change adduser's default shell, edit /etc/adduser.conf:

  • I tride typing chsh bash and it says "bash is not a user". So i typed "chsh username --shell bash" and it said "bash is an invalid shell". but I can type "bash" and it switches to the one i want. Any thoughts? – kidcapital May 6 '11 at 19:46
  • ok well, it turns out the correct command for me was: chsh -s /bin/bash .. thanks for pointing me in the right direction – kidcapital May 6 '11 at 19:49
  • @kidcapital: Yes, chsh -s /bin/bash was right, I indicated the right command but messed up its syntax. Sorry. – Gilles May 6 '11 at 19:58

After you follow Gilles' advice, increase the awesomocity of the prompt by adding this code to the user's ~/.bashrc (and your root's .bashrc):

# Black       0;30     Dark Gray     1;30
# Blue        0;34     Light Blue    1;34
# Green       0;32     Light Green   1;32
# Cyan        0;36     Light Cyan    1;36
# Red         0;31     Light Red     1;31
# Purple      0;35     Light Purple  1;35
# Brown       0;33     Yellow        1;33
# Light Gray  0;37     White         1;37


if [ "$(whoami)" == 'root' ]; then

fiddle with it too.. fiddling is important.

  • 4
    -1 This doesn't answer the question, and doesn't fit the tone of the site, which is for professional system administration. I probably would have not downvoted if this question/answer had been on superuser or ubuntu.se. – Zoredache May 6 '11 at 19:26
  • Dude didn't understand the prompt, wanted a nice one. I gave him an example prompt to work with and encouraged changing it to fit his needs. – cidermonkey May 6 '11 at 19:34
  • 1
    But if you read deeper into the question, you will see that it was about the a newly created complete lack of the standard environment. Please remember this site is not a forum, it is a Q&A site. If you post an answer it is supposed to be an answer to the question. – Zoredache May 6 '11 at 19:42
  • 2
    I think the point Zoredache is making (and I am inclined to agree) is that you didn't answer the ultimate question of Anyone have any idea what I did wrong?. – Ben Pilbrow May 6 '11 at 19:44

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