Question: What is the most-ideal way to add new users in Debian? adduser appears to be missing on my system, any tips?


bash: adduser: command not found


adduser does appear to be installed

adduser is already the newest version (3.118).

Is is possible to manually execute it as a binary? Where is the applications stored?

  • Welcome to the site. Could you edit the question to include also the exact command-line (incl. prompt) you used and which led to this error message? It may help identify the problem. E.g.: adding a user is a process reserved to the system administrator root, and in the current form of the question, it is not apparent if you were root user or gained the necessary admin rights via a sudo call (hence the questions/remarks of the other contributors).
    – AdminBee
    Feb 4, 2020 at 9:04

3 Answers 3


Use su -l or su - to start the root shell with an environment similar to a normal 'login' shell. This includes initializing the environment variable $PATH for user root instead of simply inheriting it from the normal (non-sudo) user who does not have /sbin on her $PATH. See man su or https://linuxconfig.org/command-not-found-missing-path-to-sbin-on-debian-gnu-linux.

This is how to enable sudo after a fresh install of Debian 10:

$ su -l
# adduser <your_username_here> sudo
# logout

Then, log out of the Desktop Environment and log in again.


Adding sbin to path seems to at least temporarily fix the problem for me:

export PATH="$PATH:/sbin:/usr/sbin:usr/local/sbin"

Or try executing /sbin/useradd

  • Thank you very much! Your work around did it for me. The only other thing that I had to do was to use the SUDO command to add the new user. May 14, 2020 at 18:40

which adduser will tell you where the bin is located.

You should be root when trying to add a user.

Alternatively you can use the useradd command, also as root.

  • 1
    The problem appears to be that useradd is not found. Feb 4, 2020 at 6:54
  • 3
    What user are you trying to execute the command as? If you are not the root user, certain directories are not in your $PATH (such as /sbin and /usr/sbin) Feb 4, 2020 at 7:03
  • also if you omit the - after su it could have this affect
    – pcnate
    Dec 24, 2023 at 0:15

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