Skip to Main Content

How Docs


Change Your Login Shell

NOTE: Functional knowledge and use of this application is the responsibility of the user.


The shell in UNIX is the command line interface between you (or your program) and the computer. A shell interprets the commands you issue to the computer. There are many different shells available to the UNIX user.

The default FRONTIER (formerly ASUWlink) shell is the Z-shell (or, zsh). zsh was chosen because it is the most versatile of all the current shells. zsh encompasses most everything from other popular shells like bash, csh, tcsh, and ksh, but it is most akin to the Bourne Shell.

You should not change your shell unless you are very familiar with UNIX or otherwise know of another shell that will better serve your specific needs. Changing your shell may isolate you from standard system functions like the message of the day (motd) and default system paths.


To change your shell, you need to create a new file called .zlogin in your home directory. The last line of your .zlogin should be the command that executes a new shell in place of the zsh. For example, to run the csh as your shell, the last line in your .zlogin file would be:

exec /bin/csh

Using the exec command will NOT cause your commands to be executed by both shells. Rather, the new shell replaces zsh as your login shell.

X clients

If you are using Xwindows, you will need to add the -ls flag to your xterm command. This will tell X to execute your session as a login session thereby executing your .zlogin file, changing your shell.

Location of Shells

Shells already on the system are located in the following places:

C-Shell /bin/csh

Bourne Shell /bin/sh

Korn Shell /bin/ksh

Bash /usr/local/bin/bash

tcsh /usr/local/bin/tcsh


Reviewed: 0706 By: CD

Additional help with the installation and configuration of
UW-supported software is available:
Contact the IT Help Desk at 766-HELP (4357), option 1
Contact the IT Help Desk at 766-HELP (4357), option 1
Come to the student computer lab in the lobby of the
Information Technology Center.

Footer Navigation

University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071 // UW Operators (307) 766-1121 // Contact Us