Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Fix “No sandbox user ‘_apt’ on the system, can not drop privileges” Error in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 9

In this guide, we will be addressing a common issue faced by Ubuntu users: the “No sandbox user ‘_apt’ on the system, can not drop privileges” error. This error typically occurs when the _apt user is missing from the system. However, don’t fret, as this issue can be easily resolved by following the steps outlined in this article.

Quick Answer

To fix the "No sandbox user ‘_apt’ on the system, can not drop privileges" error in Ubuntu, you can add the missing _apt user back to the system using the adduser command. This will resolve the issue and prevent the warning message from appearing during software updates.

Understanding the ‘_apt’ User

Before we delve into the solution, it is important to understand what the _apt user is and why it’s significant. The _apt user is a system user in Ubuntu that is used for sandboxing, which is a security mechanism for separating running programs. It is often used in software building and other operations.

However, the _apt user is not critical for normal system operation. Therefore, if you encounter a warning about the missing _apt user, it should not affect the functionality of your system.

Checking for the ‘_apt’ User

The first step in resolving this issue is to check whether the _apt user is present in your system. This can be done by searching for the _apt user in the /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow files. These files store user account information.

You can check for the _apt user by running the following command:

sudo grep _apt /etc/passwd /etc/shadow

The sudo command is used to execute the command as a superuser, grep is a command-line utility for searching plain-text data sets for lines that match a regular expression, and _apt is the keyword we’re searching for in the specified files.

Adding the ‘_apt’ User

If the _apt user is not listed in both files, you need to add it back. This can be done using the adduser command as follows:

sudo adduser --force-badname --system --no-create-home _apt

Let’s break down this command:

  • sudo: Execute the command as a superuser.
  • adduser: A command used to add a new user to the system.
  • --force-badname: This option allows the creation of a user with a non-standard username.
  • --system: This option creates a system user.
  • --no-create-home: This option specifies not to create a home directory for the user.
  • _apt: The username to be added.

This command creates a system user named _apt without a home directory and with restricted login privileges.

Verifying the Solution

After adding the _apt user, the warning message should no longer appear when updating software. You can verify this by running a software update command such as sudo apt-get update.


In this article, we’ve covered how to resolve the “No sandbox user ‘_apt’ on the system, can not drop privileges” error in Ubuntu. Although this warning is not an actual error and should not affect the functionality of your system, it can be easily resolved by adding the _apt user back to the system.

Remember, it’s always important to understand the commands you’re running on your system and the potential implications they could have. Always consult reliable sources or seek professional advice when in doubt.

What is sandboxing?

Sandboxing is a security mechanism that separates running programs to prevent them from accessing each other’s data and compromising the system. It provides an additional layer of protection by isolating processes and limiting their privileges.

Will adding the ‘_apt’ user affect my system’s functionality?

No, adding the ‘_apt’ user will not affect the functionality of your system. The ‘_apt’ user is used for sandboxing purposes and is not critical for normal system operation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *