I set a password for root to allow me to change the login name pi. When I login as root, the menu bar flashes several times and then disappears. I have tried several key combinations to bring the menu bar back, to no avail. The only response I can get is the new file, new menu, etc. window by right clicking on the desktop. Logging in to pi still works as it should. It is probably something simple, but since I am new to the pi, I do not know all the tricks yet. Any help would be appreciated.

  • 2
    Simple answer is "Don't do it." The reason not to is two fold. 1. It compromises the security of your whole home LAN and 2. It's too easy to destroy your system if you always run as root. Use root when you need it, use sudo carefully only when your unprivileged user can't complete a task.
    – Dougie
    Jan 3, 2021 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


I ran into the same problem after creating a new system. In my old system (B2 upgraded several times from Jessy to Buster) it worked fine, but on my new PI (B4) the menu bar is not available when I start the GUI from root.

After a little searching I found the following solution:

Just add the user 'root' to the video and audio groups. This however only works for extra virtual desktops you create with vncserver and then connect to from another computer in your network.

Just execute the following commands:

usermod -a -G video root

usermod -a -G audio root

Note: I know wanting to use the GUI over the command-line is a no-go in the Linux world. Linux people like to profile themselves as professionals doing so. I have lived long enough in the mainframe world and in the MS-DOS world to have learned that using a GUI prevents a lot of errors!

  • this is the only "answer" so far that is even remotely pointing in the direction of an answer - root is simply not setup for gui - environment, user configs, groups, etc. All else seems to be people responding to a comment. Theres a difference between useradd and adduser...
    – Abel
    Jun 13, 2021 at 22:30

Debian does NOT have a root login (for good reasons) but there should be no need to ever login as root.

It is simple to enable root login, but if you don't know how you shouldn't do it.
Those who do know how don't because there is no need, and it enables nothing that can't already be done.

No distribution allows root to use a GUI. It may be possible, but you will not find "something simple".

Incidentally 'chang(ing) the login name pi" is not simple, nor is it recommended. If you want another user create one, and leave pi alone.

Edit: ALWAYS change the default password for 'pi' even if you never plan to use it on-going. It's a well known password and standard hack vector now.

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