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How to change your password on any Linux desktop

One of the easiest ways to protect your Linux desktop from physical and digital intruders is to change your account password if you have reason to believe it has been compromised.

The exact process you need to follow to reset your Linux password, however, will differ depending on the desktop environment you are using. 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 among the most popular Linux desktop environments of all time. If you are not sure which desktop you are using, it is probably GNOME. This is because almost all distributions come with GNOME installed or made readily available. Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and many other distributions ship with GNOME as the default desktop.

GNOME change password

Changing your password on GNOME is a very simple process. First, open the system settings. Then in the left sidebar, scroll down and click Users. From there, just 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 you wish to use.

Changing the user password on KDE Plasma

The KDE Plasma desktop environment shares the top spot with GNOME in popularity. Almost all of the major Linux distributions have a ready-to-install version that comes with Plasma as the default desktop.

KDE change password

To change your user password with KDE Plasma, open system settings and select Users of 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 you wish to use.


Change your Linux user password on Cinnamon Desktop

The Cinnamon desktop environment is the default desktop for Linux Mint. It’s also available as an alternate desktop for most of the most popular Linux distributions, including Fedora, Ubuntu, and others.

Cinnamon settings

To get started, click on the Cinnamon app launcher and open the system settings app. From there click on Account details to access your user account settings.

Cinnamon change password

On the Account Details screen, just click anywhere on the field titled Password and a new dialogue window will open allowing you to change your password. You will need to enter your current password to verify your identity as well as any new password of your choice.

Related: Tips for Customizing the Cinnamon Desktop

Change your account password on LXDE / LXQT

LXQT and LXDE are two branches of the same base office. The main difference between the two is that LXDE is designed 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 office will be the same.

LXQT change password

From the launcher, select Preferences then Users and groups. A window will open displaying a list of all users on the system. The LXQT User Manager interface is not as user-friendly as that of other desktops.

The displayed user list will include internal system users as well as actual human user accounts. While it might seem a bit confusing at first, don’t be intimidated. There are two tabs to choose from at the top of the User Management application: Users and Groups.

To change your password, make sure you are on Users tab, then locate your username. Entries are sorted alphabetically by default. Simply select your username and click Change Password above the list. A new dialog will open allowing you to update your Linux user password.

To note: Changing passwords or changing the settings of any of the system accounts displayed in the main user list can damage your system (badly). You should not change any settings on any of the system special group or user accounts included in the list.

Change 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 minimal IT resources. Many major Linux distributions offer a variant that ships with MATE as the default desktop environment.

MATE change password

To change your password with MATE, click on the System option in the top menu. From there select Administration then Mate User Manager. The User Manager app will open and present you with several account options that you can change.

Just click on the Password and MATE will ask you to provide your current password as well as the new password you want to set.

Change your Linux user password on XFCE

XFCE is another lightweight and popular desktop environment. Again, many Linux distributions offer an out-of-the-box variant that comes with XFCE installed as the default desktop.

XFCE change password

Changing your Linux user password through XFCE is quick and easy. To get started, open the program launcher and select System then Users and groups. In the dialog box that opens, select your username if necessary then click on the Change button next to Password label.

Another dialog window will open allowing you to define a new password yourself or to automatically generate a random password. As with other desktops, you will also need to provide your current password.

Linux security, strong passwords and beyond

With the information we’ve presented here, you should now be able to change your own password on just about any desktop computer running Linux. If for some reason you are not able to change your password using any of the above methods, you can also change your Linux password using a terminal.

Using strong passwords that include combinations of lowercase and uppercase 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.

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