How to fix “X: user not authorized to run the X server, aborting.”?

This is just a simple tips to solve a error message when you start your X session with “startx” command as normal user. The error message may be like this:

blackgod@debian:~$ startx

xauth:  creating new authority file /home/blackgod/.Xauthority

X: user not authorized to run the X server, aborting.

In linux, by default root user is allowed to run X server in most cases. So you don’t face this issue while running “startx” as root user.

Basically the Xorg X server needs to be configured to to authorize this user. Where should we configure this?

/etc/X11/Xwrapper.config – This file has as setting called “allowed_users”. It can accept three values:
1. root
2. anybody
3. console
The above values are self explanatory. You can edit this value to set as anybody for normal user to start X server. If normal user starts X server from console, console can also be set. It can be like this.
In Debian and its derivatives like Ubuntu, you can run the following command to do it in user friendly screen as shown below.
# dpkg-reconfigure x11-common

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  1. Hi Rocky,
    You need to enter “dpkg-reconfigure x11-common” at root shell prompt. The # denotes it as root user command, it should not be enter. In case it does not work you can always do it by editing /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config file as root user. Just ensure that this file has “allowed_users=anybody” line in it.

  2. What command do I need to fetch the console up?
    I entered “# dpkg-reconfigure x11-common” and it didn’t do a thing.
    I’ve spent many hours trying to resolve the x server permissions, I’m completely new to this having just bought a Raspberry Pi (which I’m now regretting!!).

  3. Generally I don’t learn article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

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