chell chell - 4 months ago 19
Linux Question

How can I delete a user in linux when the system says its currently used in a process

I am trying to delete a user I created on ubuntu.

However when I use the following command:

userdel -r cafe_fixer

I get the following message:

user cafe_fixer is currently used by process 15945

I am not using this user for anything I just created it and now wish to delete it.

Any help appreciated.


First use pkill or kill -9 <pid> to kill the process.

Then use following userdel command to delete user,

userdel -f cafe_fixer

According to userdel man page:

-f, --force

This option forces the removal of the user account, even if the user is still logged in. It also forces userdel to remove the user's home directory and mail spool, even if another user uses the same home directory or if the mail spool is not owned by the specified user. If USERGROUPS_ENAB is defined to yes in /etc/login.defs and if a group exists with the same name as the deleted user, then this group will be removed, even if it is still the primary group of another user.

Edit 1:

Note: This option (i.e. --force) is dangerous and may leave your system in an inconsistent state.