Linux define the runlevel and determine which runlevel my system is currently in

last updated in Categories

Q. How to define the Linux system runlevel and how do I determine which runlevel my system is currently in?

A. You need to use runlevel command to find the current and previous system runlevel. Usaully 0-6 runlevel are used by all Linux distributions:

=> 0 : Halt system

=> 1 : Take system to single-user mode (good for Linux system maintenance)

=> 2 : User defined or distribution like Debian use it

=> 3 : Full multi-user mode (text mode login)

=> 4 : Not used/user-defined

=> 5 : Full multi-user GUI mode login

=> 6 : Reboot system

Please note that runlevels 0, 1, and 6 are reserved. Runlevel 0 is used to halt the system, runlevel 6 is used to reboot the system, and runlevel 1 is used to get the system down into single user mode.

Task: Determine which runlevel my system is currently in

Type runlevel command:
$ runlevel


N 3

runlevel command reads the system utmp file (typically /var/run/utmp) to locate the runlevel record, and then prints the previous and current system runlevel on its standard output, separated by a single space. If there is no previous system runlevel, the letter N will be printed instead.

Task: Change runlevel

Use init command to change the runlevel. For example runlevel 1 is used to get the system down into single user mode:
# init 1

Get 15% off on Linux Foundation certified SysAdmin, Progamming, Kubernetes/Containers and Open Stack certification & course. Use "SPLASH15" coupon code. Offer expires on August 27, 2018

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

6 comment

    1. no you cannot increase runlevels !
      but you can define new runlevel by using ‘runlevel 4’ which is provided for users to create their own user-defined runlevel !
      these above lines are true for general linux system ! to know about your operating system goto :

  1. i want only previous runlevel and current runlevel individually
    3 5
    3 =present
    i want inly one runlevel
    help me……………………………………

    Have a question? Post it on our forum!