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Mel K
LInux Guru and Technical Writer

How to Show Asterisks Visible in the Linux Terminal

For every Linux user, the terminal is the most important part of all. It allows performing a lot of tasks in a secured manner. Moreover, the terminal is a crucial tool for advanced users and experts to have control over the system. Sometimes, it can be really irritating that when using the “sudo” command, you get confused if your password is typed correctly. If you’re a new user of Linux, it’s a more devastating & serious experience. Now, there’s a way where you can show the asterisks instead of the empty field.

Note that when using this method, the password length is disclosed to anyone who is sitting next to you. So, you need to be careful of choosing the right password for your system. I recommend a password of 10-20 characters long with alphabets, numeric and special characters (*, &, % etc.). This way, anyone will have a really hard time figuring out your password.

Now, let’s enable the asterisks instead of the empty field. I’m using Ubuntu to do this task as Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro of all. Make sure that you enter the codes WITHOUT ANY MISTAKE. Otherwise, you might end up in a broken system.

  • Start a terminal. You can open it by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T”.
  • Run this command:
sudo visudo
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A file will open up in the Nano text editor.

  • Using the arrow keys, get your cursor at the end of the following line:
Defaults         env_reset

  • Add this code at the end of the line:

The modification should look like this:

  • Save the file. Press “Ctrl + X” >> type “y” (without quotation marks) >> hit Enter.

  • The system will ask you for changing the file name at the bottom. Hit Enter to accept the default.

  • Close the terminal.

Next time you open a terminal and use the “sudo” code, your password will be represented by asterisks. Thus, you’ll be safe from mistyping and use your system more fluently.

I admit that any Linux terminal is a difficult option as it uses CLI (Command Line Interface). If the default terminal scares you away, don’t worry. There are different terminal emulators available for your ease. Those emulators come up with hundreds of features and ease of functions. Take a look at the best terminal emulators for Linux.

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