I have tried making a root2 user which should have the same permissions as root by doing

useradd -g root root2
passwd root2
usermod -G root root2
usermod -aG wheel root2

but root2 can still not cat /etc/shadow as an example.

How can I create such user?

  • 3
    There can only be one root user. You can use sudo to give administrative privileges to other users. Aug 23 '17 at 12:28

You can't. root is a special user with uid 0. Use sudo instead.

  • Interesting! With my above commands root2 have a GID of 0, how come that doesn't give the user full root privileges? Aug 23 '17 at 12:35
  • 4
    because a GID is not a UID. Aug 23 '17 at 12:35
  • So what does it give root2 to have GID of 0? Aug 23 '17 at 12:49
  • 3
    Nothing that would give it real root permissions (aka is allowed to do everything). You can access files that are group-accessible for group root, but that's about it.
    – Sven
    Aug 23 '17 at 12:52
  • 2
    You can in fact have multiple root users. Just use a text editor to change root2 uid to 0. tldp.org/LDP/LGNET/48/tag/16.html
    – dmourati
    Aug 24 '17 at 14:52

Premise: using sudo (as suggested by the accepted answer) probably is the correct solution at your problem.

That said, if you really need something resembling a second root account, you can create an alias to the system root account.

To do that, follow these steps:

  1. open /etc/passwd
  2. locate the root account line (often the very first line). It will be something similar to root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
  3. copy/paste it changing the first root occurence in root2 (ie: changing it in root2:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash)
  4. save your changes and exit the text editor
  5. issue passwd root2 and enter the new password

Note: if you whish, you can avoid direct editing the /etc/passwd file by replacing steps 1-3 with the following command: useradd -o -u 0 -g 0 -N -d /root/ -M root2 (see useradd --help for more information about the required options)

At this point, you can login using not only the original root account (with its original password), but also using the new root2 account (with its new password).

Anyway, remember that it is an alias of an existing user, rather than a completely new user. This means that any files created while logged as root2 have the very same numerical oid/gid of the original system root account (which has 0 as both uid and gid).


This used to be somewhat common (before sudo alleviated the need).

The toor user (yes, that's "root" spelled backwards) is the most common alternate root user, sharing the special UID of zero with root. See also this Super User question: Does the root account always have UID/GID 0?

This is the purpose of useradd --non-unique (useradd -o). I believe you want something like:

useradd --non-unique --uid 0 root2

You should be able to give the account any that doesn't already exist on your system.

I do not recommend this. You're far better off with one true root user, reserved for emergency console access. Admins should all instead use sudo. Especially remote admins (it is wise to prohibit root from connecting via ssh or other remote services, especially w.r.t. password logins).


Install sudo:

# apt install sudo

Create user and set password:

# useradd myuser
# passwd myuser
Enter new UNIX password: 123
Retype new UNIX password: 123

Add user to sudo config:

# visudo
myuser    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

Login as myuser and get root permissions:

# su myuser
$ sudo apt install vim
[sudo] password for myuser: 123
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libgpm2 libpython2.7 libpython2.7-minimal libpython2.7-stdlib vim

I think you need to read some information about permissions and user management in linux.

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