One of the most basic ways to help keep your Linux desktop secure from both physical and digital intruders is to change your account password if you have any reason to believe that it’s been compromised.
The exact process you need to follow to reset your Linux password, however, will differ based on the desktop environment that you use. In this article, we’ll show you how to change your user password on six of the most common Linux desktop environments.
Change Your Linux Password on GNOME
GNOME consistently ranks as one of the most popular Linux desktop environments of all time. If you’re not sure what desktop you are running, it’s most likely GNOME. That’s because just about every distribution comes either with GNOME installed or made easily available. Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and many other distributions ship with GNOME as the default desktop.
Changing your password on GNOME is a very straightforward process. First, open the system settings. Then, on the left sidebar, scroll down and click on Users. From there, simply click on the Password option to open a dialog that will allow you to change your Linux user password. You will need to enter your current password as well as the new password that you would like to use.
Changing User Password on KDE Plasma
The KDE Plasma desktop environment shares the top spot with GNOME when it comes to popularity. Just about every major Linux distribution has a ready-to-install version that comes with Plasma as the default desktop.
To change your user password with KDE Plasma, open the system settings and select Users from the left panel. Then, on the right, select your user account if necessary and click on Change Password. You will then be greeted with a simple dialog box asking for your current password and the new password that you’d like to use.
Change Your Linux User Password on Cinnamon Desktop
The Cinnamon desktop environment is the default desktop for Linux Mint. It is also available as an alternate desktop for many of the most popular Linux distributions including Fedora, Ubuntu, and others.
To begin, click on the Cinnamon app launcher and open the system settings app. From there, click on Account details to access your user account settings.
On the Account details screen, simply click anywhere on the field labeled Password and a new dialog window will open allowing you to change your password. You’ll need to enter your current password to verify your identity along with the new password of your choice.
Change Your Account Password on LXDE/LXQT
LXQT and LXDE are two branches of the same basic desktop. The main difference between the two is that LXDE is built to use the same libraries that power GNOME and LXQT uses the libraries that power KDE Plasma.
The process for changing your password with either desktop will be the same.
From the launcher, select Preferences and then Users and Groups. A window will open showing a list of all users on the system. The interface of the LXQT user manager is not quite as user-friendly as other desktops.
The list of users shown will include internal system users as well as actual human user accounts. Although this might look a bit confusing at first, don’t let it intimidate you. There are two tabs to choose from along the top of the user manager app: Users and Groups.
To change your password, make sure you are on the Users tab and then locate your username. Entries are in alphabetical order by default. Simply select your username and click on Change Password above the list. A new dialog box will open allowing you to update your Linux user password.
Note: Changing passwords or modifying settings for any of the system accounts shown in the main user list can break your system (badly). You should not change any settings on any of the special system user or group accounts included in the list.
Changing Your Linux Password on MATE
MATE is one of the most popular lightweight desktop environments. It is designed to provide a fully functional desktop experience while requiring few computing resources. Many major Linux distros offer a variant that comes with MATE as the default desktop environment.
To change your password with MATE, click on the System option from the top menu. From there, select Administration and then Mate User Manager. The User Manager app will open and present you with several account options you can modify.
Simply click on the Password button and MATE will ask you to provide your current password as well as the new password that you would like to set.
Change Your Linux User Password on XFCE
XFCE is another popular lightweight desktop environment. Again, many Linux distributions offer a ready-made variant that comes with XFCE installed as the default desktop.
Changing your Linux user password through XFCE is quick and easy. To begin, open the program launcher and select System and then Users and Groups. In the dialog that opens, select your user name if necessary and then click on the Change button next to the Password label.
Another dialog window will open allowing you to set a new password yourself or generate a random password automatically. As with other desktops, you’ll also need to provide your current password.
Linux Security, Strong Passwords, and Beyond
With the information we’ve laid out here, you should now be able to change your own password on just about any desktop running Linux. If for some reason you are not able to change your password using any of the methods above, you can also change your Linux password using a terminal.
Using strong passwords that include combinations of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols will help improve the security of your Linux user account.
If, however, you are on a Linux server and need to check whether your user account (or the server itself) has been compromised, consider installing server auditing utilities for Linux.
Worried that your Linux server might be infected with malware or rootkits? Scan your system with these 10 security tools.
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