I did the following:

useradd -d /home/iauser -m -s /bin/bash -c "IA User" iauser

got this error:

UX: useradd: ERROR: Create home directory failed. Operation not applicable

It created an entry in passwd:


In Solaris you cannot use /home because it is used by the automounter.


Can I do this:

userdel iauser 

without removing the /home directory?

  • If you do delete a user and keep that user's home directory, have you thought about what happens when you create a new user that gets the some UID as the user you deleted? The new user will be listed as the owner of the old, deleted user's home directory and will have access to all the files in that directory. Dec 18, 2017 at 11:11

2 Answers 2


If you don't provide the -r option to userdel, it should not remove the home directory:

     userdel [-r] login
     The following options are supported:

     -r       Remove the user's home directory from  the  system.
              This  directory  must  exist.  The files and direc-
              tories under the home directory will no  longer  be
              accessible  following  successful  execution of the

Notice that the -r option is in square brackets, indicating that it is an optional flag.

Oracle man pages section 1M: System Administration Commands: userdel


Looks like the answer might be in your question (or edited in?)

Since /home is usually an automount, you can't create a dir in it.

  • It looks like it is in the question because you have answered the context and not the question itself. The question is the part that comes after the word "Question:".
    – JdeBP
    Dec 16, 2017 at 9:09

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