3 Ways to Change User Shell in Linux

The shell is a command line interface in Unix and Linux operating systems. It provides a way to interact with the operating system, by issuing commands and programs. A shell is also known as a command interpreter or command processor.

Understanding user shell in Linux

User shell is the program that you use to type commands. Shell is a program that interprets commands and executes them.

Shell, or sh, is the default user shell for Linux operating systems. It’s a command-line interpreter and command processor for Unix-like operating systems, which means it helps you interact with your computer’s operating system by interpreting and executing commands.

What is the purpose of a shell in Linux?

A shell is a program that provides you with a command prompt to use. The user can run commands, programs, scripts and applications through it.

The shell also allows you to create subshells for running commands in it. A subshell is a command prompt within another command prompt (the parent).

Change User Shell in Linux Using chsh

One way is to use chsh command.

This can be done using the following syntax:

chsh -s /bin/bash

Change User Shell in Linux Using usermod Command

On Linux, you can change the user’s shell using the usermod command. This is used to add or remove users from groups as well as change their UID/GID and other details.

Change User Shell in Linux Using passwd Command

You can change user shell in Linux using the passwd command. This is a built-in command available on most Linux distributions. It can be used to change the password of a user and also their default shell, if you want to do that as well.

The passwd command is fairly simple to use; you just need to know how to enter it into your terminal or shell prompt. You can type it out at the command line:

> passwd testuser

Or, if you’re working within a graphical environment like GNOME or KDE’s Konsole, click Applications > Accessories > Terminal window, then enter ‘passwd’ (without quotes) into the text box and hit Enter—it’ll look something like this:

You can change your shell using a variety of commands.

You can change your shell using a variety of commands.

  • chsh: This command is used to change your login shell.
  • usermod: This command is used to modify the properties of a user account.
  • passwd: This command is used to change one’s own password on UNIX and Linux systems as well as Mac OS X, but only in interactive mode, not from scripts or cron jobs. If this file does not exist for whatever reason, it will be created with all fields set to “-1” (invalid). The default username/password combination for all users on Red Hat Linux systems is “root/toor”. You will also see that root’s home directory (/root) has been created automatically with /bin/sh as its default shell and /bin/bash as its default interpreter (i.e., interpreter).

What is the difference between a shell and a terminal?

The shell is a program that takes commands you type into it and runs them. A terminal, on the other hand, is a window where you can run commands.

So what’s the difference between shell and terminal? Well, in simple terms:

  • Shells are programs which interpret your input and execute commands based on that input.
  • Terminals are virtual terminals created by shells for interaction with users.
  • Physical terminals are physical devices (for example, monitors) where the textual output of programs running in virtual terminals appears visually to users.


If you’re looking for a way to change your shell, we hope that this guide has helped you learn some new things. Now that you know about the different types of shells in Linux and how to change them, go out there and try something new!


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