I want to allow a user that is logging in to the system locally (ie. keyboard & mouse) to not have to enter a password. Is this possible? I have the system locked down extremely well with SSH, and it sits with me always, so I it is not an issue.

  • 1
    Possible? Yeah probably. A terrible, bad, awful, awful, terrible idea? Absolutely.
    – Sammitch
    Feb 29 '16 at 23:28
  • 2
    @Sammitch, on an embedded development system (pre-release), that you are actively developing, where every time you boot, you want to save a few seconds not having to deal with the password of the user account, I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea that should deserve a gold medal. OPs question is helping me find a solution. I'm happy he asked so I don't have to ask myself. I too find his reasoning somewhat naive.
    – Alex
    Mar 22 '17 at 4:20

This may be bad security but as noted if you have physical access to a non encrypted laptop you could get into the files and reset passwords with a linux live cd/usb or sometimes the grub menu lets you boot to recovery root and you can change the password.

Do you mean a virtual console or the default graphical console?

Login Settings (GNOME/KDE) should have option to boot to desktop without password.

For Virtaul Consoles

Arch linux has a guide which I think should work for other systemd distros.



systemctl edit getty@tty1

and put the following into the file

ExecStart=-/usr/bin/agetty --autologin username --noclear %I $TERM

I think that should let you autologin to the first console.

  • 2
    This doesn't work for me. It says 'root (automatic login)' but then It still asks for password. Probably, something should be tuned in PAM configuration.
    – 0x2207
    Oct 23 '18 at 18:39
  • I have the same issue, @0x2207 !!
    – Osqui
    Mar 22 '19 at 17:48

Following from the great information from @Roman I modified his answer somewhat for the solution on my system, which was Debian. For anyone else needing this; for Debian, edit /etc/systemd/system/getty.target.wants/getty\@tty1.service and add --autologin root to the line which begins with ExecStart=- so that it reads:

ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty --autologin root --noclear %I $TERM

Hope that helps. I realize it is a security risk in most cases. But when it is an embedded router that is strapped to the bottom of my desk and all external authentication is done with 2 factor authentication... I am not too worried.

Thank you for the help @Roman!


I did not manage to get agetty to automatically login regular user without a password. It still requires it. But as I am running standalone workstation without internet connection for my purpose, I found that just clearing the user's password does the trick. Now autologin works. Hope this was better documented in agetty's manpage.


1. - The Lazy Edit on /etc/passwd

change the X from


and the Password has gone, this works also in case you lost the root password

Using the "Official Way" with passwd command

passwd -d <user>

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