Caution: Logging into “root” from GUI (or even in console mode) is possibly hazardous since accidentaly changing any settings may result in dysfunctional system. This solution is only for expert users.

Since Fedora 11 (or may be 10, I’m not sure) you cannot log into “root” from GUI/Startup Login. It has been disabled by default. Only “Normal Users” can log in from GUI/Startup Login.

But there is a workaround. For that you have to go to “/etc/pam.d”.

PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) takes care of authentication and separates authentication tasks into four independent management groups: account management, authentication management, password management and session management. These four groups together take care of different aspects of typical user’s request for a restricted service.

PAM is often misunderstood, underutilized and overlooked by many UNIX/Linux administrators and developers. Once understood its power PAM will disappear as “mere” authentication mechanism and become a more powerful set of modules to handle, restrict and create barriers between system services and users.

For our “root” log in purpose we have to consider GDM (Gnome Display Manager), which is highly configurable reimplementation of XDM (X Display Manager). GDM allows you to log into an X Window System and also supports to run several X Window sessions at a given time on a local machine.

Now, open a terminal, log in as “root” and go to “/etc/pam.d” directory.

$ su –
Password :

$ cd /etc/pam.d

Our files of interest are gdm and gdm-password files. Better backup them.

$ cp gdm gdm.bu
$ cp gdm-password gdm-password.bu

Now open the two files in your favorite editor, search for the entry “auth required user != root quiet” and comment it with “#” symbol in both files. Save and exit. Better don’t delete the entry.

$ vi gdm
# auth required user != root quiet

$ vi gdm-password
# auth required user != root quiet

That’s it. Better restart the system. Now you can log into “root” as any other “Normal User” in X Window GUI.

Play safe.

Thanks for the read and please leave comments 🙂