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.
allowed_users=anybody
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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8 comments

  1. 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!!).

    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. 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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