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man update-rc.d(8)

man update-rc.d(8) - install and remove System-V style init script links

Translations of this material:

into Russian: man update-rc.d(8) - установка и удаление ссылок сценариев инициализации в стиле System-V. Translation complete.
Submitted for translation by morbo 18.05.2009 Published 1 year, 4 months ago.



update-rc.d - install and remove System-V style init script links


update-rc.d [-n] [-f] name remove

update-rc.d [-n] name defaults [NN | SS KK]

update-rc.d [-n] name start|stop NN runlevel [runlevel]... . start|stop NN runlevel [runlevel]... . ...


update-rc.d updates the System V style init script links /etc/rcrunlevel.d/NNname whose target is the script /etc/init.d/name. These links are run by init when it changes runlevels; they are generally used to start and stop system services such as daemons. runlevel is one of the runlevels supported by init, namely, 0123456789S, and NN is the two-digit sequence number that determines where in the sequence init will run the scripts.

This manpage documents only the usage and behaviour of update-rc.d. For a discussion of the System V style init script arrangements please see init(8) and the Debian Policy Manual.

Please note that this program was designed for use in package maintainer scripts and, accordingly, has only the very limited functionality required by such scripts. System administrators are not encouraged to use update-rc.d to manage runlevels. They should edit the links directly or use runlevel editors such as sysv-rc-conf and bum instead.


When run with either the defaults, start, or stop options, update-rc.d makes links /etc/rcrunlevel.d/[SK]NNname that point to the script /etc/init.d/name.

If any files /etc/rcrunlevel.d/[SK]??name already exist then update-rc.d does nothing. The program was written this way so that it will never change an existing configuration, which may have been customized by the system administrator. The program will only install links if none are present, i.e., if it appears that the service has never been installed before.

A common system administration error is to delete the links with the thought that this will "disable" the service, i.e., that this will prevent the service from being started. However, if all links have been deleted then the next time the package is upgraded, the package's postinst script will run update-rc.d again and this will reinstall links at their factory default locations. The correct way to disable services is to configure the service as stopped in all runlevels in which it is started by default. In the System V init system this means renaming the service's symbolic links from S to K.

If defaults is used then update-rc.d will make links to start the service in runlevels 2345 and to stop the service in runlevels 016 unless an LSB-style header is present in the init.d script and the /etc/update-rc.d-lsbparse file exist. If such header exist, the levels listed in the Default-Start and Default-Stop fields in that header are used instead. By default all the links will have sequence number 20, but this should be overridden if there are dependencies. For example if daemon B depends on A, then A must be started before B and B must be killed before A. You accomplish this by supplying two NN arguments. In general, core daemons should start early and be killed late, whilst applications can start late and be killed early. See EXAMPLES below.

The first NN argument supplies the start sequence number and the second NN argument supplies the kill sequence number. Kill scripts are called first, passing a stop argument. Then start scripts are called passing a start argument. In either case, calls happen in ascending sequence number order.

Supplying a single NN argument will use the same number for both start and kill links. This is supported for backward compatibility but is discouraged, as it may lead to inconsistent settings. As a rule of thumb, if you increase the start sequence number you should also decrease the stop sequence number, and vice-versa.

As a rule of thumb, the sequence number of the stop link should be 100 minus the sequence number of the start link; this causes services to be stopped in the opposite order to that in which they are started. Obviously, therefore, the default stop sequence number should be 80. Defaulting to 20, as update-rc.d does, is an old bug that cannot be fixed because of the risk of breaking things.

Instead of defaults one can give one or more sets of arguments specifying particular runlevels in which to start or stop the service. Each of these sets of arguments starts with the keyword start or stop and a sequence number NN, followed by one or more runlevel numbers. The set is terminated by a solitary full stop character. When explicit specification, rather than defaults, is used there will usually be one start and one stop set. If different sequence codes are required in different runlevels then several start sets or several stop sets may be specified. If this is done and the same runlevel is named in multiple sets then only the last one counts. Therefore it is not possible to create multiple start or multiple stop links for a service in a single runlevel directory.

The script /etc/init.d/name must exist before update-rc.d is run to create the links.


When invoked with the remove option, update-rc.d removes any links in the /etc/rcrunlevel.d directories to the script /etc/init.d/name. The script must have been deleted already. If the script is still present then update-rc.d aborts with an error message.

update-rc.d is usually called from a package's post-removal script when that script is given the purge argument. Any files in the /etc/rcrunlevel.d directories that are not symbolic links to the script /etc/init.d/name will be left untouched.



Don't do anything, just show what we would do.


Force removal of symlinks even if /etc/init.d/name still exists.


Insert links using the defaults:

update-rc.d foobar defaults

Equivalent command using explicit argument sets:

update-rc.d foobar start 20 2 3 4 5 . stop 20 0 1 6 .

More typical command using explicit argument sets:

update-rc.d foobar start 30 2 3 4 5 . stop 70 0 1 6 .

Insert links at default runlevels when B requires A

update-rc.d script_for_A defaults 80 20

update-rc.d script_for_B defaults 90 10

Insert a link to a service that (presumably) will not be needed by any other daemon

update-rc.d top_level_app defaults 98 02

Insert links for a script that requires services that start/stop at sequence number 20

update-rc.d script_depends_on_svc20 defaults 21 19

Remove all links for a script (assuming foobar has been deleted already):

update-rc.d foobar remove

Example of disabling a service:

update-rc.d -f foobar remove

update-rc.d foobar stop 20 2 3 4 5 .

Example of a command for installing a system initialization-and-shut-down script:

update-rc.d foobar start 45 S . stop 31 0 6 .

Example of a command for disabling a system initialization-and-shutdown


update-rc.d -f foobar remove

update-rc.d foobar stop 45 S .





The directory containing the actual init scripts.


The directories containing the links used by init and managed by update-rc.d.


Model for use by writers of init.d scripts.


Debian Policy Manual, /etc/init.d/skeleton, sysv-rc-conf(8), bum(8), init(8)

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