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In Unix, how do I log into and out of my account?

Logging into Unix

Before beginning, make sure your Caps Lock key is off. On most keyboards it is above your left Shift key. To log into your Unix account:

  1. At the Login: prompt, enter your username.

  2. At the Password: prompt, enter your password. For security reasons, your password does not appear on the screen when you type it. If you enter an incorrect password, you'll be asked to enter your username and password again. (Be aware that the Backspace or Del keys might not work properly while you are entering your password.)

  3. On many systems, a page of information and announcements, called a banner or "message of the day" (MOD), will be displayed on your screen. It notifies you of system changes, scheduled maintenance, and other news.

  4. The following line may appear after the banner: TERM = (vt100)

    Normally, you can press Enter to set the correct terminal type. If you know that the suggested terminal type is incorrect, enter the terminal type that your communications program is using. If you are unsure of the correct type, enter vt100 .

  5. After a pause, the Unix shell prompt will appear.

  6. You can now enter commands at the Unix prompt.

Logging out of Unix

  1. At the Unix prompt, enter: exit

    If Unix responds with the message "There are stopped jobs", enter:


    This brings a stopped job into the foreground so that you can end it gracefully (e.g., save your file from an editing session). Exit the job in the appropriate way for that particular program, and at the Unix prompt, again enter exit or logout .

  2. If you are using a personal computer, close or quit the communications program.

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see At IU, how do I get support for Linux or Unix?

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Last modified on May 13, 2009.

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