The Automatic Log-in Conundrum In Linux

Automatic log in option during Linux installation

During the Linux installation process, users are given the option to either log-in automatically or to require a user name and password when the system boots up.  Which one you choose depends largely on how you use your system.

Requiring a password:

If your computer is being used regularly by other members of your household or business staff, then you will want to create a multi-user environment in which each user has a unique user name and password.  You may also want to assign these other user accounts as limited users with no root access.

The limited user account allows users to access and run programs, but not modify or install new software packages.  This sets restricted permissions and helps prevent against user errors that could potentially render your system inoperable.

Or for security reasons, you may simply want to deny anyone else access to your system.

Automatic log-in:

Convenience is the primary reason for enabling automatic log-in.  You can turn on your computer and instantly boot to the desktop environment.

As the only user, the required password you created during installation gives you full administrative rights.

You may also want to give a thief access to your system in the event that your computer is ever stolen if you have anti-theft software installed. Prey Project offers free anti-theft tracking software that can be used to trace stolen computer equipment once it connects to the Internet.  But the thief must be able to load the operating system.

The Prey software is available for Linux, Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.  The free version is limited by comparison to the paid version, but it is sufficient to recover stolen property.  You can protect up to three devices per email address.

Encrypt my home folder:

Unless you are an experienced Linux user, please don’t.  It sounds tempting, but it can lock you out of your own files if your system crashes or becomes corrupted.  Just a word to the wise.

The choice is yours:

You can opt to automatically log-in or not.  Linux is highly customizable, so if you change your mind you can always alter these settings within the operating system after installation.

It’s up to you.



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