I've created a new user in the Ubuntu 18.04.01 like this:

sudo useradd svn
sudo passwd svn
sudo mkhomedir_helper svn
sudo usermod -d /home/svn -m svn

Problem is, that if I switch to the user by su svn I don't see a standard prompt command. Instead of standard prompt:


I see only:


despite the content of the file /home/svn/.bashrc. And in this "crippled" prompt I also cannot use TAB key to autocomplete paths.

If I run echo $PS1 as svn user I get empty result.

How can I fix this user?

  • 2
    Any particular reason you use useradd and not adduser? I usually use adduser username or adduser --encrypt-home username when creating a new user.
    – kasperd
    Nov 1, 2018 at 15:41
  • @kasperd adduser is also typically configured to give a user bash instead of sh :)
    – marcelm
    Nov 1, 2018 at 15:52
  • @kasperd the reason is simple. I didn't know the command adduser. So, thx. I'll use it in the future.
    – zdenek
    Nov 1, 2018 at 16:25
  • That is the standard prompt. Nov 1, 2018 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


Check the shell you have assigned. If you used the useradd command in Ubuntu 18, the default login shell will be /bin/sh and you will get output like you mentioned. You can change the login shell by executing the command:

sudo usermod -s /bin/bash svn

If you want ALL new users to use the same shell, you can set that using /etc/default/useradd. Change the SHELL setting to reflect the path to the shell binary you want to use. For example, mine looks like:


Also worth noting, you can use the directory named in your SKEL setting to define what files should be copied into a new user's home directory by default. In my case, I have a .zshrc file containing zsh configurations I want for all new users.

Use these two files to set defaults for all new users.


You can change the shell as the new user:

$ chsh
Changing shell for svn.
New shell [/bin/sh]: /bin/bash
Password: ****
Shell changed.

There may be other mop-up work to do, such as if the account is missing parts of the expected "skeleton" content. You mention ~/.bashrc, so maybe that's not a problem here.

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