I'm trying to make it so when I create a new user either by using useradd or adduser, an empty directory named "whatever" is automatically created under that user's home directory.

I've tried playing around with the /etc/default/useradd config file but no luck.

I'm not trying to change every new user's default home directory but rather just have an empty directory automatically be created the same time the new user is created.

  • 1
    mkdir /etc/skel/whatever, maybe? Can't test it right now so not an answer as such. Mar 31, 2017 at 22:47

1 Answer 1

sudo mkdir -p /etc/skel/whatever

/etc/skel is the "skeleton" of a new user's home directory; anything located therein is replicated as the starting point for new users' homes.

From, for instance, the manual page for useradd:

   -k, --skel SKEL_DIR
       The skeleton directory, which contains files and directories to be
       copied in the user's home directory, when the home directory is
       created by useradd.

       This option is only valid if the -m (or --create-home) option is

       If this option is not set, the skeleton directory is defined by the
       SKEL variable in /etc/default/useradd or, by default, /etc/skel.

       If possible, the ACLs and extended attributes are copied.

Or from adduser's:

   adduser will copy files from SKEL into the home  directory  and  prompt
   for  finger  (gecos) information and a password.  The gecos may also be
   set with the --gecos option.  With  the  --disabled-login  option,  the
   account  will  be created but will be disabled until a password is set.
   The --disabled-password option will not set a password,  but  login  is
   still possible (for example with SSH RSA keys).  To set up an encrypted
   home directory for the new user, add the  --encrypt-home  option.   For
   more information, refer to the -b option of ecryptfs-setup-private(1).

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