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#1 2008-11-13 01:30:36

Registered: 2007-06-18
Posts: 3

how to clone user settings and configuration?

I need to clone all of the settings in the root account to a less priveledged account (or always run as root, I suppose). Apparently, it isn't a simple matter of copying all the files in the /root/ directory to the new user's home directory and giving ownership of them to the new user. So how do I achieve this transfer?

Xfce version is 4.4.3, distro is Arch Linux.

Long explanation of what I tried:

I know one is not supposed to run as root. Out of laziness I recently set up a box, including X with XFCE4 as my desktop environment, from the root account. After I installed sudo I created a less privileged user, copied all of the files, including hidden files, from /root/ to /home/newuser/ and gave ownership of all files in /home/newuser (including the hidden ones) to newuser. Nonetheless, Xfce starts in a very basic configuration, incomplete, in fact. The cursor, for example, is the default xwm ugly X. When I kill X there are a number of errors on the screen that don't show up in the Xorg log file. Here are a couple examples:

(xfdesktop:5425): libxfce4util-CRITICAL **: Unable to create base directory /root/.cache/xfce4/desktop. Saving to file /root/.cache/xfce4/desktop/menu-cache--etc-xdg-xfce4-desktop-menu.xml.rc is likely to fail.


(xfdesktop:5425): libxfce4util-CRITICAL **: Unable to open file /root/.cache/xfce4/desktop/menu-cache--etc-xdg-xfce4-desktop-menu.xml.rc.5425.tmp for writing: Permission denied

What do I need to do?


#2 2008-11-13 15:10:23

From: Idaho
Registered: 2005-12-25
Posts: 291

Re: how to clone user settings and configuration?

Kinda obvious, some of the files must have /root as the home dir, grep/poke through ~/.config/ stuff and change as you find'em


#3 2008-11-13 17:18:43

Registered: 2008-10-25
Posts: 51

Re: how to clone user settings and configuration?

What should have happen when you created a new user was all the basic configurations are copied from /etc/skel and then you would start from there.


#4 2008-11-13 21:58:17

From: Idaho
Registered: 2005-12-25
Posts: 291

Re: how to clone user settings and configuration?

I'm pretty sure settings aren't copied from /etc/skel/, rather /etc/xdg/xfce4, /usr/share/xfce4/ and a few other places


#5 2012-05-30 12:29:40

From: Hasselt, Belgium
Registered: 2012-05-30
Posts: 1

Re: how to clone user settings and configuration?

I wrote the following shell script to solve this issue. It worked fine for me on several occasions.

Copy the code into a text editor and save it as copy-config2user
Make the file executable with chmod +x copy-config2user
Execute it by typing ./copy-config2user USERNAME at the command line.

The script is very safe to use as it has some built-in checks.
One can add more copyitem lines to copy the configuration of other programs as well.


    copy-config2user is a shell command that copies one's desktop configuration files 
    to another specified user.

    Usage: copy-config2user USERNAME

    Copyright (C) 2012  Serge YMR Stroobandt

    This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program.  If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

    See user on4aa on https://forum.xfce.org/viewtopic.php?id=4168


function copyitem() {

	echo; echo "Deleting $ITEM of user $TOUSER..."
	sudo rm -Rv /home/$TOUSER/$ITEM

	echo; echo "Copying $ITEM of user $USER to user $TOUSER..."
	sudo cp -av /home/$USER/$ITEM /home/$TOUSER/$ITEM
	sudo chown -R $TOUSER:$TOUSER /home/$TOUSER/$ITEM

if [ -z $1 ] || ! [ -d /home/$TOUSER ] || [ $USER = $TOUSER ]; then
	echo "Please, specify the user who will receive your desktop configuration."
	copyitem ".config/autostart/"
	copyitem ".config/Terminal/"
	copyitem ".config/Thunar/"
	copyitem ".config/xfce4/"

Last edited by on4aa (2012-05-30 19:14:55)

Are my methods unsound?
Have you ever considered any real freedoms? Freedoms from the opinion of others... even the opinions of yourself?

Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now"


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