Introduction: Make Raspberry Pi a Multi-User Desktop

Picture of Make Raspberry Pi a Multi-User Desktop


I want my daughter to use the Raspberry Pi for her school work and learn programming. I could buy her a Raspberry Pi or I could share my Raspberry Pi with her. I chose to share the Raspberry Pi with her. After completing this instructable, you may be interested in my instructable on modifying the login screen.


We cannot use the same account (i.e. as user "pi")


This instructable will show:

How to show login screen to greet user

How to lock screen for privacy


A raspberry pi running Raspbian OS

Step 1: Enable and Test Login Screen

Open terminal emulator

cd /etc/lightdm
vi lightdm.conf

Disable auto login:


Show list of user(s) in login screen


Save the file


sudo reboot

Raspberry Pi will display a login screen

Step 2: Implement and Test Screen Lock

Picture of Implement and Test Screen Lock

Open terminal emulator in Raspberry Pi

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver

Click on Start Button -> Preferences -> Screensaver

If there is a dialog box asking to start the daemon, click on Yes button

If not, click on menu File -> Restart Daemon

In terminal emulator:

Navigate to lxpanel system-wide configuration

cd /etc/xdg/lxpanel/profile/LXDE/panels

Edit panel file as shown in the screenshot by adding or modifying the last plugin to what is shown in the screenshot

sudo vi panel

Modify screen lock desktop file to be the same as the one in the screenshot

cd /usr/share/applications
sudo vi lxde-screenlock.desktop

Modify logout desktop file to be the same as the one in the screenshot

cd /usr/share/applications
sudo vi lxde-logout.desktop

Reboot Raspberry Pi

Login by entering user id and password into login greeter box

A screen lock icon should be seen in the bottom right of the screen as shown in the screenshot.

Click on the lock icon. (Warning: Before doing this, make sure you know the password)

Raspberry Pi display a screensaver in the background and a login screen in the foreground as shown in the screenshot, effectively locking the screen.

Step 3: Add User and Test Login Screen

Open terminal emulator in Raspberry Pi

sudo useradd -m daughter
sudo passwd daughter

Enable new user to watch video by adding user to audio and video group

sudo usermod -a -G video,audio daughter


sudo reboot

Display manager will show a list of users with daughter being one of them

Step 4: Give Shutdown and Reboot Privileges to User(s)

Complete the steps in "Give User Shutdown and Reboot Privileges" instructable.


klint.krossa (author)2017-02-22

Hello nice and easy to follow

up date

cd /etc/xdg/lxpanel/profile/LXDE-pi/panels

ScottS155 (author)2016-05-27

Shaun, you need to edit lightdm.conf as root (use sudo)

I was unable to add shutdown and reboot privileges using these steps, but found instructions elsewhere that now allows all users to shut down, reboot, and exit to the login screen:

At the prompt: sudo visudo

At the end of the file, add the line: ALL ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/shutdown, /sbin/reboot, /usr/bin/pkill

But thanks for the instructions! They got me most of the way there for setting up my Pi 3 as a multi-user basic desktop!

ShaunM21 (author)2016-01-07

Hi, I don't seem to be able to edit the lightdm.config file. Can anyone enlighten me. Thanks

mirza irwan osman (author)2015-03-20


I have added "Give user shutdown and reboot privileges" step for a better user experience when working in Raspberry Pi.

About This Instructable



Bio: Systems Administrator and Software Programmer.
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