Separation of privileges are a security measure implemented in Linux systems. Regular/normal users operate with limited privileges in order  to reduce their influence in the system environment that they use. This is a security method to reduce the impact of regular users on the system.

In Linux a root user exist which has super-user access/privileges. This is an administrative account that has no restrictions. Normal users can execute commands with root access in a few ways.

How to obtain Root Access Level

To obtain root access level, open a new terminal window, and login as root.

Example: su – or su root 

Method 1 (recommended)

The sudoers file (the file in which are defined the access levels) is located at /etc/sudoers. !!! Be aware, do not modify it unless you know what you are doing !!!

su –


cd /


vim /etc/sudoers 

linux edit sudoers vim

The sudoers file will open and the contents can be read.

linux sudoers vim

The text editor is called vim, the file is opened in read mode by default. The commands to edit the file can be found below:

i: input mode

ESC: exits to read mode

:q: quits (is no modifications are made)

:q!: quits (if modifications are made but you do not wish to keep them)

:wq!: save (saves the modifications added and quits vim)

Add your username to the sudoers file, save and close it, exit root.

vim Text Editor Tutorial

Method 2

This is a simpler way, but depending on the system config that your Linux operating system has, it might not take effect very quickly.

There are two command lines that you can run:

1: sudo gpasswd -a username wheel


2: sudo usermod -aG wheel username

Your username has now administrative/sudo/root access level.

Useful links:

Most used Linux commands

Linux Directory Map / Structure

Introduction to Linux

Using Help in Linux

Download and install Oracle VirtualBox

How to install CentOS on Oracle VirtualBox