Your Debian / Ubuntu Linux box security depends upon access to system services (one of many aspects). For example, you may need to provide a web server (Apache service) to serve web pages. However, if you do not need use a service, you should always turn off all unused services to avoid exploits.


Traditionally, Debian provided various tools to manage services. There are various methods for managing access to system services:
a) /etc/init.d/service
b) rcconf
c) update-rc.d etc

Under Red hat and Centos Linux you can use chkconfig command (ntsysv command) to configure Sys V style init script links. There is also service command to stop / start / restart services.

So if you are addicted to the service command under RHEL / CentOS / Mandriva Linux and have wondered what to do in Debian / Ubuntu, Linux try sysvconfig package.

sysvconfig – Services Startup Configuration Tool

Debian and Ubuntu Linux also offers service command. It can be used to execute System V style init script stored at /etc/init.d/service-name { start|stop|restart|action }. This is good if you grown up with Red hat. This tool is equivalent to update-rc.d and invoke-rc.d (rcconf and others).

sysvconfig package

First, install sysvconfig package:
$ sudo apt-get install sysvconfig

To start / restart / stop service, use the following syntax:
$ sudo service {service-name} restart <-- Restart service $ sudo service {service-name} stop <-- Stop service $ sudo service {service-name} start <-- Start service
For example to stop apache service, enter:
$ sudo service apache stop

sysvconfig command

This is a text-based application that allows you to configure which services are started at boot time for each runlevel. It is simple interface for configuring runlevels. sysvconfig is just like ntsysv under Red hat Linux. It has dialog based interactive, menus to help automate setting up Sys V style init script links:

  • Enable or disable services.
  • Edit individual links.
  • Restore from backup file if you make a mistake.
  • Menu or command line interface.
  • View all services, each with its status and a brief description.

To start Sys V editor, enter:
$ sudo sysvconfig &
sysvconfig - configure Sys V style init script links under Debian / Ubuntu Linux
(Fig 01: sysvconfig in action - startup screen with menus)

You can enable or disable any system services:
sysvconfig - enable or disable any system services under Debian / Ubuntu Linux
(Fig 02: sysvconfig in action - Enable or Disable system services)

Please note that when you configure a new service using these tools, you may need to reconfigure firewall as well to open required ports.

Further readings

=> Read the man pages for sysvconfig and service command.

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15 comments… add one
  • hayalci Dec 12, 2007 @ 22:24

    sysv-rc-conf is another good utility to configure services. it is ncurses based and if you run it in detailed view, you can change startup order, you can delete links completely instead of S->K change.

  • RD Dec 16, 2007 @ 11:43

    ESR also contributed a “chkconfig” script for RH users, it’s posted to the Upstart development list sometime this summer, and is in the archives.

  • V.Balaviswanathan Apr 23, 2009 @ 14:35

    Thank You all for the provided information. It helped me to configure my Ubuntu machine

  • Irudayaraj May 18, 2009 @ 8:30

    Thanks it useful

  • tv Jun 24, 2009 @ 21:34

    Hi, for those looking for a very nice and feature-full gui to control startup scripts, give the “bum” package a try on Debian.


  • the_guv Oct 5, 2009 @ 6:37

    tx for that
    .. another one to check out is Monit.

  • shake chen Dec 26, 2009 @ 13:06


    in centos, I can use comand

    1:list all the start service.
    chkconfig –list | grep 3:on | cut -f1

    2:start only I need service ,stop the other no need service.
    chkconfig –list |grep 3:on |awk ‘{print $1}’ |egrep -v ‘sshd|network|syslog’ |xargs -i{} chkconfig –level 3 {} off

    how to do in ubuntu or debian?

  • Elias Roos Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:42

    So this is sort of like the services console in windows, right?

  • Vukasin Feb 27, 2012 @ 6:40

    Hi Guys,

    In Mint12 chkconfig is available in repo:

    $ apt-get install chkconfig
    $ chkconfig –list


  • Hadret Jul 20, 2012 @ 13:50

    On Debian (and I assume on all debian-based distros too), there’s very nice tool called sysv-rc-conf for service administration (:

  • s carr Aug 1, 2012 @ 18:01

    sudo apt-get install sysvconfig
    returns no suitable candidates. What repository can I get it from?

    • Xunnamius Oct 28, 2012 @ 5:11

      Wondering this as well.

  • test Oct 26, 2012 @ 10:19

    good stuff

  • jd Aug 28, 2014 @ 8:12

    FWIW, sysvconfig package has long been removed from Debian.

    /usr/sbin/service is now provided by sysvinit-utils which is an essential package in Debian.

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