Ubuntu HowTo: no desktop on a user when i log the user into the system

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On Ubuntu 18.04 after installing security controls, I am unable to log a new user in and have it generate a desktop the background displays. There is no taskbar or icons. To create the user, I run useradd -m {user name}.

This creates the user and its home directories, but once I log them in, they have no desktop. Any advice?

By default, the useradd utility on most Linux systems does not assign a password for the created user. Without a password on the user, the user will be unable to login / have access to most of the functionality of the desktop.

To set a password for the user, you use the following command:

passwd <username>

Make sure to replace <username> with your actual username (without the angle brackets). After running this, you’ll be prompted to enter a new password for the user. After setting a password for the user, you should be able to login as normal.

On the other hand, Ubuntu (like all Debian-based distros) comes with the adduser utility which is a user-friendly frontend to useradd. Simply running the following command is all you need:


You will be shown a series of prompts, which allow you to specify the settings for the new user (username, full name, etc.), and is preferred over useradd in modern Ubuntu versions, and unlike useradd, you don’t have to manually set a password after; part of the setup will prompt you to set the password.

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