Debian 6 – HowTo enable gnome root login on Debian 6 (Squeeze)

Debian logoHello, in this short tutorial I will show you, how you can enable root login on the gnome login screen on Debian 6 (Squeeze).

How to enable gnome root login on Debian 6?

You will need the root password for this set of commands.


Login to a user account.


Open a terminal window and type this into your window:

su root


Now open the file /etc/pam.d/gdm3 and comment out the fifth line:

#auth   required user != root quiet_success

Content of: /etc/pam.d/gdm3

auth    requisite
auth    required readenv=1
auth    required readenv=1 envfile=/etc/default/locale
#auth	required user != root quiet_success
@include common-auth
auth    optional
@include common-account
session required
@include common-session
session optional auto_start
@include common-password



I hope this is helping some of you, because root is not allowed to login on a fresh Debian 6 installation.

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  • Saturday, 10. March 2012 - 14:27 Uhr

    thanks, it worked
    got tired of people telling me how to run my life
    i’m 74 and like to live dangerously

  • Sunday, 8. April 2012 - 10:42 Uhr

    Thanks. I too am pissed off with Linux paranoia about root. Typing in mysterious incantations from the command line is more likely to result in surprising and unintended interpretation than using a GUI IMO. So dangerous things should be possible from gui (why not allow promotion of ordinary user to superuser with a password prompt via a shortcut key sequence?) Anyway, I only play with linux, I kept the missile launch codes, the unseen incriminating celeb sex tapes and all my employers bank details on the unencrypted vista laptop that I left in the taxi after the last office piss up. Kept that one under my hat. Keep hoping it will turn up on ebay.

  • Tuesday, 29. May 2012 - 9:28 Uhr

    muchas gracias +10

  • Thursday, 31. May 2012 - 16:49 Uhr

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Thursday, 7. June 2012 - 22:53 Uhr

    Thank you.

  • Sunday, 1. July 2012 - 14:00 Uhr

    I get permission denied when trying this. I’m in root terminal, typed /etc/pam.d/gdm3 exactly…

    What am I doing wrong? Thanks

  • Thursday, 12. July 2012 - 22:54 Uhr

    Hello Cipher, sorry for answering that late. You have to open the file with the gedit text editor which you have opened with the commands: su root, gedit.

  • Monday, 24. September 2012 - 22:14 Uhr

    A crisp, clean explanation on how to resolve an annoying default issue or feature (depending upon your perspective).

    Works like a charm. Well done!

  • Thursday, 4. October 2012 - 10:24 Uhr

    thanx man

  • Saturday, 17. November 2012 - 14:38 Uhr

    this іmage mοże bуćodρowіеdnie.

  • Saturday, 1. December 2012 - 10:40 Uhr

    As others have already mentioned, when it comes to login as root, some “linux folks” act like the damn national security depends on it! What the hell is wrong with everybody these days? From linux to micro$$$$$oft, they all tend to restrict everything as much as possible, and if possible leaving you with the only “right” to open the browser and see some html pages (nooooo, no flash, god forbid!!). As if from now on, every PC user is to be considered dumb and retarded and must be protected against himself, by any means!.
    Good to see there still are some normal people out there willing to share NORMAL AND USEFUL information. To the others, I just have to say… go check yourselves and don’t forget the medication!

  • Saturday, 1. December 2012 - 11:09 Uhr

    This just made my day :D

  • Saturday, 1. December 2012 - 23:10 Uhr

    Please help me!

    I did exactly as told, and now I cant’t login in Debian, not even as a normal user. All I get is an “acess denied” message. I’m totally sure the password is correct.

  • Saturday, 1. December 2012 - 23:53 Uhr

    Hello Pedro, I sent you an E-Mail regarding this issue.

  • Tuesday, 4. December 2012 - 17:54 Uhr

    Have navigated through several posts without finding a direct reply to such a direct question! Thanks to the others who have alerted about the risks of logging on as root, but this answer was exactly what I’ve been looking for.

  • Tuesday, 25. December 2012 - 3:20 Uhr

    Superb post. Excellent. Worked on latest 6.3.

  • Tuesday, 25. December 2012 - 4:01 Uhr

    oops. I meant latest 6.0.6 release.

  • Thursday, 10. January 2013 - 10:44 Uhr

    Thank You!
    Very useful tip )

  • Monday, 14. January 2013 - 14:26 Uhr

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  • Tuesday, 15. January 2013 - 13:12 Uhr

    Thanx a lot! It worked just fine for me on Debian 6.0.6.

  • Friday, 18. January 2013 - 11:18 Uhr

    Thank you for the info. Short and sweet, just the way it should be.

  • Sunday, 10. February 2013 - 20:29 Uhr

    Si, en Debian esquezze pero vercion Gnome, esto no vale para “KDE”

  • Sunday, 10. March 2013 - 0:02 Uhr

    Brilliant, just worked on Debian 6.0.7

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  • Wednesday, 17. April 2013 - 7:50 Uhr

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  • Tuesday, 30. April 2013 - 23:05 Uhr

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  • Sunday, 21. July 2013 - 18:50 Uhr

    still works in Debian 7.1 cool..!! :) handy for updating software etc.


  • Saturday, 10. August 2013 - 15:40 Uhr

    It works!!!! for Debian 7, thank you man.

  • Monday, 23. December 2013 - 13:17 Uhr

    Works well on Deb 7.3
    So simple and so useful

  • Saturday, 18. January 2014 - 23:52 Uhr

    Thanks for the GDM example, but I have to go find the one for KDM. Hmm, seems the file “etc/pam.d/kdm” is similar but doesn’t even seem to have that line, commented-out or not.

  • Monday, 17. March 2014 - 2:57 Uhr

    the main reason people say not to run linux as root is the same reason its not a good idea to run windows as an admin will full system privs.. because if the system gets compromised the hacker is granted the permissions of the user that is currently logged in.. Therefor if you are root, then the hacker is root also and it is game over…

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