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I have the latest Ubuntu installed and I'll be the only one using it off the network. My question is: how can I make myself super user at all times?

Because when I try to delete a file it says I don't have privileges to do so. I know you are going to say it's a security risk but I'm off the network and want to learn all that I can. I don't want to delete the files through the terminal but want to do it through the user interface/explorer. I've installed LAMP and can't copy my site to the www directory. I've tried to remove the preinstalled index file and it won't let me.

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migrated from Nov 14 '09 at 9:01

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That's why I didn't even mention sudo su (but, well, there is a menu entry to get a Root Terminal afterall). – Pascal Thivent Nov 14 '09 at 9:12
I think everyone made it clear: being all the time "root" is not a good idea. However, now that it is said again and again, can people focus on answering the question and NOT try to fix the person who asked? – Gnoupi Nov 14 '09 at 21:43
The security risk is not the network, the security risk is the human sitting behind the computer, in other words YOU. – Pascal Thivent Nov 15 '09 at 9:22
As for answering the actual question: there's many questions here that need's Super Users to explain alternatives, or to repeatedly ask for more information on the "why would you want that" until the question asker finally understands to appreciate those alternatives. If the Super Users here would only answer the actual questions then many questions would not boil down to the real question or the real problem... (I still doubt the question asker understands that every new file will become owned by root:root, so it's extremely hard to stop being root at some later time.) – Arjan Nov 15 '09 at 14:33
See also "How to copy something to Apache’s www-directory using a GUI?" at… -- the question asker somehow got convinced. Good! ;-) – Arjan Nov 15 '09 at 14:38

I'm off the network and want to learn all that I can

If you really want to learn all that you can, you should be doing things the proper way. Lesson 1 is never log in as root directly. Lesson two is how to use the terminal. If you're not willing to learn how to use the terminal then maybe WAMP is more appropriate for you than LAMP. Linux is a very powerful operating system, but it is not Windows and trying to treat it as such is dangerous.

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I agree. Aiming for permanent superuser powers develops a very bad and nasty habit. – geek Nov 14 '09 at 21:43

Use sudo (or gskudo for graphical applications) to run commands with super user privileges (at your own risks).

(EDIT: As people mentioned in comments, it's not possible by default to login as root as root doesn't have a password, which is a good thing, and I'm not going to tell you how to change this as I consider setting a password for root as a huge security flaw and a very bad practice. There is actually no reason to be permanently logged a root, this can only lead to mistakes and disasters. Just DON'T DO IT.)

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thAnks but is there a way to make myself super user perminitly? because it gets annoying thanks for ur help – iaddesign Nov 14 '09 at 8:47
What stops you from logging-in from start-up as root? I'm not suggesting it's a good idea, though. I agree with paxdiablo in this regard. – pavium Nov 14 '09 at 8:53
I bet it's not as annoying as the first time you realize you've actually deleted your entire /boot subdirectory by accident :-) – paxdiablo Nov 14 '09 at 8:54
how do i login as root? ive tried the username as root and used the same password upon instaaling ubuntu and it didnt work what can i try? – iaddesign Nov 14 '09 at 8:57
I'm not really sure I should mention this, but if it's understood that this is potentially dangerous stuff, the reason Ubuntu won't let you log in as root is that root has no password you can enter at a prompt There ... I've probably said too much, but it is possible to give root a password so you can log-in as root... Oh God, what have I done?!... – pavium Nov 14 '09 at 9:01

As already reiterated to the boredom, staying logged as superuser all the time is a very bad idea. That said, it's your computer, your project, your choice, so I don't see why one should not share the information you asked, so...

Login with your normal user and from a prompt shell you can enter:

sudo passwd root

this will allow you to enter a password for your root user. You can now logout and login again using your root user.

Should you change your idea about using root, then you could still implement a drag&drop mechanism for super-user operations. Have a look to the ubuntu wiki!

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You must allow root login to be able to login to GDM first - Also, everyone says that logging in as root is a bad idea, but yet Windows still hasn't gotten past that idea that a regular user can have administrative use over the whole machine, without having to auth of course. Can you please explain to use why you think being logged in as a superuser is a bad idea? Thanks. – Nathan Adams Nov 14 '09 at 17:19
I believe the information you linked is outdated, as the thread is from 2006 and that option has been removed from the GUI (I don't know it for sure, though, as I never use a root account on my machines). The ubuntu wiki ( does not mention that either. As for root accounts are a bad idea, it's all about security: 1) make brute forcing easier 2) makes computer exposed to the mechanisms used by rootkits/viruses/worms/etc... [this is why win has 100K+ virus and linux basically none] 3) allows for dramatic human mistakes 4) end of space here! – mac Nov 14 '09 at 17:42
This answer is actually the best one so far, in my opinion. It's telling that it is a bad idea, but actually provides the actual answer to the question. – Gnoupi Nov 14 '09 at 21:48
@Gnoupi The question is not about login as root if I may – Pascal Thivent Nov 14 '09 at 22:20
Nathan - a windows administrator cannot easily edit/change/delete critical system files from within the windows environment. A linux root user can. Very easily. – Shane Nov 14 '09 at 23:06

Why don't you just Alt + F2 and type:

gksudo nautilus

Enter your password once and use nautilus as a superuser - don't close it. You can also use Ctrl + T or Ctrl + N to open tabs or new windows without re-entering your password.

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This is how I elevate permissions for drag-and-drop file operations. Mine is set so that Nautilus windows run as root actually follow a different theme/appearance so that it's obvious when privileges have been elevated. – Shane Nov 14 '09 at 23:08
Even this is not a good solution actually. You don't want all permissions to be set as root:root. No, the OP should learn to do things the right way, end of the discussion :) – Pascal Thivent Nov 15 '09 at 9:20

There is a reason Ubuntu disables this and gives you "sudo" instead.

Doing this is a compromise to your system, and being lazy is not enough reason.

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Refrain from posting simple "judgment" comments, as answers. A question was asked, you can explain why it is a bad idea, but provide an actual answer to the question, too, don't demean the poster for no reason, it brings nothing. – Gnoupi Nov 14 '09 at 21:51

Despite all the judging comments here I think people should be able to decide for themselves.

The ubuntu wiki explains how to access the root account, and alternatives.

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please elaborate on your answer and use links as credits/source for your answer, instead of posting a link as an answer. if the link contents are lost, so is your answer. – Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Jan 14 '13 at 15:49

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