Changing my shell in Debian Linux

When I started a terminal on my Debian Linux I had sh-3.2:~$ instead of MyUsername:~$ as I used to have before. My ".bashrc" file didn't work anymore. In order to see which shell I'm running I had to show the output of the SHELL variable as defined in the in the PATH :

sh-3.2:~$ echo $SHELL

The respond is :

sh-3.2:~$ /bin/sh

As I want to use the bash shell I have to change my shell. But before that, I woulds like to list the shells that are installed on my system so I typed :

sh-3.2:~$ cat /etc/shells

I got :


To change my shell from sh to bash I used the command chsh and typed the path of the bash shell :

sh-3.2:~$ chsh
Enter the new value, or press return for the default
    Login Shell [/bin/bash]: /bin/bash

I logged out then in, for my new shell to work.

Starting a terminal gave me :



Balaji DuttBalaji Dutt, 2009/04/15 11:59


Had a similar problem and came across your article. In the end I discovered that when you create a user in Debian, you have to specify the shell at creation, i.e,

useradd -m -s /bin/bash <someuser>

Otherwise, it default to /bin/sh which gives that weird sh-3.2 prompt.

AnonymouseAnonymouse, 2009/07/08 19:33

To change the shell: modifying /etc/passwd is not enough; manually defining a variable $SHELL in “autoexec” files is not enough; chsh did the work!

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