Posts Tagged ‘system’

CentOS disable SELinux permanently or one time on grub Linux kernel boot time

Saturday, July 24th, 2021



1. Office 365 cloud connected computer and a VirtualBox hosted machine with SELINUX preventing it to boot

At my job we're in process of migrating my old Lenovo Laptop Thinkpad model L560 Laptop to Dell Latitude 5510 wiith Intel Core i5 vPro CPU and 256 Gb SSD Hard Drive.  The new laptops are generally fiine though they're not even a middle class computers and generally I prefer thinkpads. The sad thing out of this is our employee decided to migrate to Office 365 (again perhaps another stupid managerial decision out of an excel sheet wtih a balance to save some money … 

As you can imagine Office 365 is not really PCI Standards compliant and not secure since our data is stored in Microsoft cloud and theoretically Microsoft has and owns our data or could wipe loose the data if they want to. The other obvious security downside I've noticed with the new "Secure PCI complaint laptop" is the initial PC login screen which by default offers fingerprint authentication or the even worse  and even less secure face recognition, but obviosly everyhing becomes more and more crazy and people become less and less cautious for security if that would save money or centralize the data … In the name of security we completely waste security that is very dubious paradox I don't really understand but anyways, enough rant back to the main topic of this article is how to and I had to disable selinux?

As part of Migration I've used Microsoft OneDrive to copy old files from the Thinkpad to the Latitude (as on the old machine USB's are forbidden and I cannot copy over wiith a siimple USB driive, as well as II have no right to open the laptop and copy data from the Hard driive, and even if we had this right without breaking up some crazy company policy that will not be possible as the hard drive data on old laptop is encrypted, the funny thing is that the new laptop data comes encrypted and there is no something out of the box as BitDefender or McAffee incryption (once again, obviously our data security is a victim of some managarial decisions) …

2. OneDrive copy problems unable to sync some of the copied files to Onedrive

Anyways as the Old Laptop's security is quite paranoid and we're like Fort Nox, only port 80 and port 443 connections to the internet can be initiated to get around this harsh restrictions it was as simple to use a Virtualbox Virtual Machine. So on old laptop I've installed a CentOS 7 image which I used so far and I used one drive to copy my vbox .vdi image on the new laptop work machine.

The first head buml was the .vdi which seems to be prohibited to be copied to OneDrive, so to work around this I had to rename the origianl CentOS7.vdi to CentOS7.vdi-renamed on old laptop and once the data is in one drive copy my Vitualbox VM/ directory from one drive to the Dell Latitude machine and rename the .vdi-named towards .vdi as well as import it from the latest installed VirtualBox on the new machine.

3. Disable SELINUX from initial grub boot

So far so good but as usual happens with miigrations I've struck towards another blocker, the VM image once initiated to boot from Virtualbox badly crashed with some complains that selinux cannot be loaded.
Realizing CentOS 7 has the more or less meaningless Selinux, I've took the opportunity to disable SeLinux.

To do so I've booted the Kernel with Selinux disabled from GRUB2 loader prompt before Kernel and OS Userland boots.



I thought I need to type the information on the source in grub. What I did is very simple, on the Linux GRUB boot screen I've pressed

'e' keyboard letter

that brought the grub boot loader into edit mode.

Then I had to add selinux=0 on the edited selected kernel version, as shown in below screenshot:


Next to boot the Linux VM without Selinux enabled one time,  just had to press together

Ctrl+X then add selinux=0 on the edited selected kernel version, that should be added as shown in the screenshot somewhere after the line of

4. Permanently Disable Selinux on CentOS 7

Once I managed to boot Virtual Machine properly with Oracle Virtualbox, to permanently disabled selinux I had to:


Once booted into CentOS, to check the status of selinux run:


# sestatus
SELinux status:                 enabled
SELinuxfs mount:                /sys/fs/selinux
SELinux root directory:         /etc/selinux
Loaded policy name:             targeted
Current mode:                   enforcing
Mode from config file:          enforcing
Policy MLS status:              enabled
Policy deny_unknown status:     allowed
Max kernel policy version:      31


5. Disable SELinux one time with setenforce command

You can temporarily change the SELinux mode from targeted to permissive with the following command:


# setenforce 0

Next o permanently disable SELinux on your CentOS 7 next time the system boots, Open the /etc/selinux/config file and set the SELINUX mod parameter to disabled.

On CentOS 7 you can  edit the kernel parameters in /etc/default/grub (in the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX= key) and set selinux=0 so on next VM / PC boot we boot with a SELINUX disabled for example add   RUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=selinux=0 to the file then you have to regenerate your Grub config like this:

# grub2-mkconfig -o /etc/grub2.cfg
# grub2-mkconfig -o /etc/grub2-efi.cfg

Further on to disable SeLinux on OS level edit /etc/selinux

Default /etc/selinux/config with selinux enabled should look like so:

# This file controls the state of SELinux on the system.
# SELINUX= can take one of these three values:
#       enforcing – SELinux security policy is enforced.
#       permissive – SELinux prints warnings instead of enforcing.
#       disabled – No SELinux policy is loaded.
# SELINUXTYPE= can take one of these two values:
#       targeted – Targeted processes are protected,
#       mls – Multi Level Security protection.

To disable SeLinux modify the file to be something like:

# This file controls the state of SELinux on the system.
# SELINUX= can take one of these three values:
#       enforcing – SELinux security policy is enforced.
#       permissive – SELinux prints warnings instead of enforcing.
#       disabled – No SELinux policy is loaded.
# SELINUXTYPE= can take one of these two values:
#       targeted – Targeted processes are protected,
#       mls – Multi Level Security protection.

6. Check SELINUX status is disabled

# sestatus

SELinux status:                 disabled

So in this article shottly was explained shortly the fake security adopted by using Microsoft Cloud environment Offiice 365, my faced OneDrive copy issues (which prevented even my old laptop Virtual Machine to boot properly and the handy trick to rename the file that is unwilling to get copied from old PC towards m$ OneDrive as well as the grub trick to disable Selinux permanently from grub2.

Configure rsyslog buffering on Linux to avoid message lost to Central Logging server

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021


1. Rsyslog Buffering

One of the best practice about logs management is to send syslog to a central server. However, a logging system should be capable of avoiding message loss in situations where the server is not reachable. To do so, unsent data needs to be buffered at the client when central server is not available. You might have recently noticed that many servers forwarding logs messages to a central server do not have buffering functionalities activated. Thus I strongly advise you to have look to this documentation to know how to check your configuration:

Rsyslog buffering with TCP/UDP configured

In rsyslog, every action runs on its own queue and each queue can be set to buffer data if the action is not ready. Of course, you must be able to detect that "the action is not ready", which means the remote server is offline. This can be detected with plain TCP syslog and RELP, but not with UDP. So you need to use either of the two. In this howto, we use plain TCP syslog.

– Version requirement

Please note that we are using rsyslog-specific features. The are required on the client, but not on the server. So the client system must run rsyslog (at least version 3.12.0), while on the server another syslogd may be running, as long as it supports plain tcp syslog.

How To Setup rsyslog buffering on Linux

First, you need to create a working directory for rsyslog. This is where it stores its queue files (should need arise). You may use any location on your local system. Next, you need to do is instruct rsyslog to use a disk queue and then configure your action. There is nothing else to do. With the following simple config file, you forward anything you receive to a remote server and have buffering applied automatically when it goes down. This must be done on the client machine.

# Example:
# $ModLoad imuxsock             # local message reception
# $WorkDirectory /rsyslog/work  # default location for work (spool) files
# $ActionQueueType LinkedList   # use asynchronous processing
# $ActionQueueFileName srvrfwd  # set file name, also enables disk mode
# $ActionResumeRetryCount -1    # infinite retries on insert failure
# $ActionQueueSaveOnShutdown on # save in-memory data if rsyslog shuts down
# *.*       @@server:port

Backup entire Live Linux Operating System bit by bit with dd, partimage, partclone clonezilla

Thursday, January 7th, 2021


This is an old stuff that we UNIX / Linux sysadmins use frequently when we need to migrate operating system from a certain older machine server to another newer one.
However I decided to blog it as it an interesting to know to a new grown junior sysadmins.

To Create a bit to bit data backup with dd command,
the following command is used to create a backup with dd, which takes the entire data content (including partition table etc.) with it:

dd if = / dev / [hard disk 1] of = / dev / [hard disk 2] bs = 512 conv = noerror, sync

For explanation:


"if" stands for the hard drive to be read from.
"of" stands for the hard drive to be written to.
Important! if and of must not be interchanged under any circumstances! In the worst case, the data on the disk to be read will otherwise be irrevocably overwritten!

"bs = 512" defines the block size. The value can be increased (which in turn increases the speed of the backup), but you should be sure that the file system to be backed up does not contain any errors. If you were to use block size 64k, for example, the speed of the backup is increased considerably – but if read errors occur within this block, the entire data block that dd has written contains unusable data. Therefore, when choosing the block size, you should always weigh data integrity and time against each other.
"noerror" tells dd to continue the backup in case of errors. Without this option, dd would stop the backup by default.
"sync" commands dd to replace the unreadable blocks with zeros in the event of errors in order to keep the data offset synchronous.
When performing a backup (as with other things that a longer period can take advantage of, it is always recommended (if you SSH is logged in and no direct access to a real Shell), the process either for CTRL + followed from bg to the background (can later be brought back to the foreground with fg ) or to use virtual session managers such as screen or byobu before executing the command.This prevents the process from dying if the SSH session is unintentionally terminated and you have to start over.

Of course there are plenty of other ways to make a mirror backup  cloneof a hard disk to lets say migrate to a new data center  using easier to use tools with (ncurses) Text menu interfaces to avoid bothering a complex typing on the console.
One such tool is Partclon:


PartClone cloning in action

Another text menu interface data cloning Linux tool commonly used by sysadms is partimage


Most sysadmins however prefer to use Clonezilla when something more cozy is required to do a bit to bit data copy.
Tthere is even a Live Linux CD distribution for that.

Clonezilla can mirror most types of filesystems and partiontions and could be used not only for UNIX / Linux / BSD filesystems Live OS data (backups) (EXT3 / EXT4 / XFS / ZFS etc)  migrations, but also for old NT4 Windows server partitions. One useful application of Clonezilla i can think of is if you want to configure or restore a whole office of Windows computers running on the same clean version of Windows and same hardware configurations PCs, after a Virus or trojan has striked it. By using it you can clone from a central well configured Windows release with the surrounding applications to all machines for up to an hour with Clonezilla and you can even do it over a network.

How to check Microsoft IIS webserver version

Monday, July 21st, 2014

If you have to tune some weirdly behaviour Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services) webserver, the first thing to do is to collect information about the system you're dealing with – get version of installed Windows and check what kind of IIS version is running on the Windows server?

To get the version of installed Windows on the system you just logged in, the quickest way I use is:

Start -> My Computer (right mouse button) Properties


Run regedit from cmd.exe and go and check value of registry value:




As you can see in screenshot in this particular case it is IIS version 6.0.

An alternative way to check the IIS version in some cases (if IIS version return is not disabled) is to telnet to webserver:

telnet your-webserver 80

Once connected Send:


Also on some Windows versions it is possible to check IIS webserver version from Internet Information Services Management Cosnole:

To check IIS version from IIS Manager:

Start (button) -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> "Internet Information Services" IIS Manager

From IIS Manager go to:

Help -> About Microsoft Management Console

Here is a list with most common IIS version output you will get depending on the version of Windows server:


Windows NT 3.51 1.0
Windows NT 4 2.0-4.0
Windows Server 2000 5.0
Windows XP Professional 5.1
Windows Server 2003 6.0
Windows Vista 7.0
Windows Server 2008 7.0
Windows Server 2008 R2 7.5
Windows 7 7.5
Windows Server 2012 8.0
Windows 8 8.0
Windows Server 2012 R2 8.5
Windows 8.1 8.5

If you have only an upload FTP access to a Folder served by IIS Webserver – i.e. no access to the Win server running IIS, you can also grasp the IIS version with following .ASP code:


Save the file as anyfile.asp somewhere in IIS docroot and invoke it in browser.

Remove old unused kernels and cleanup orphaned packages on CentOS / RHEL/ Fedora and Debian Linux

Friday, October 23rd, 2020


If you administer CentOS 7 / CentOS  8 bunch of servers it is very likely after one of the scheduled Patch days every 6 months or so, you end up with a multiple Linux OS kernels installed on the system.
In normal situation on a freshly installed CentOS machine only one rpm package is installed on the system with the kernel release shipped with CentOS / RHEL / Fedora distro:
The reason to remove the old unused kernels is very simple, you don't want to have a messy installation and after some of the updates to boot up in a revert back old kernel or if you're pedantic to simply save few megas of space.
Some people choose to have more than one kernel just to make sure, if the new installed one doesn't boot, after a restart from ILO / IDRAC remote console interface you can select to boot the proper kernel. I agree having the old kernel before the system *kernel* upgrade as backup recovery is a good thing but this is a good thing to the point the system gets booted after reboot (you know we sysadmins usually after each major system package upgrade), we like to reboot the system warmly praying and hoping it will boot up next time 🙂

1. Remove CentOS last XX kernels from the OS

Of course removal of old kernels could be managed by a simple

yum remove kernel


One more than one kernel is present you can hence leave only lets say the last 2 installed kernel on the CentOS host (some people prefer to have only one) but just for the sake of having a backup kernel I like more to have last two kernels installed present, to do so run package-cleanup which is contained in yum-utils rpm package CentOS – this is CentOS / Redhat ( RHEL) specific command.

[root@centos ~ ]:# package-cleanup –oldkernels –count=2


–count=number argument – tells how many from the  latest version kernels to get removed.

Note if you don't have the package-cleanup command install yum-utils package:

[root@centos ~ :]#  yum install -y yum-utils


2. RemoveOld kernels from Fedora Linux – leave only the latest 3 installed

This is done with dnf by setting the –-latest-limit arg to negative value to how many last kernels want to keep

[root@fedora ~ ]:# dnf remove $(dnf repoquery –installonly –latest-limit=-3 -q)


3. Set how many kernels you want to be present on system all the time after package upgrades

It is possible to tell CentOS / RHEL / Fedora's on how many kernels show be kept installed on the system, the default configured on Operating system install time is to keep the last 5 installed kernel on the OS. This is controlled from installonly_limit=5 value that is usually as of year 2020 RPM based distributions found under /etc/yum.conf (on CentOS / RHEL) and in /etc/dnf/dnf.conf (in Fedora) configuration file and sets the desired number of kernels present on system after issuing commands yum upgrade / dnf upgrade –refresh etc.
The minimum number to give to  installonly_limit is 2.

4. Remove orphan rpm packages from server

The next thing to do is to check the installed orphan packages to see if we can safely remove them; by orphaned packages we mean all packages which no longer serve a purpose of package dependencies.
Orphan packages are packages who left over from some old dependencies that are no longer needed on the system but just take up space and impose a possible security risk as some of them might end up with time with a public well known and hacked CVE vulnearbility.

Let me try to explain this concept with a quick example: package A is depended on package B, thus, in order to install package A the package B must also be installed. Once the package A is removed the package B might still be installed, hence the package B is now orphaned package.
Here’s how we can safely see the orphan packages we do have on our system:

[root@centos ~ :]#  package-cleanup –quiet –leaves –exclude-bin

And here’s how we can delete them:

[root@centos ~ :]# package-cleanup –quiet –leaves –exclude-bin | xargs yum remove -y

The above commands should be launched multiple times, because the packages deleted with the first batch could create additional orphan packages, and so on: be sure to perform these tasks until no orphan packages appear anymore after the first package-cleanup command.


5. Delete Old Kernels and keep only last three ones on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

To do the same on a debian based distribution there is a command is provided by a deb package byobu, if you want to clean up old kernels on Debians :

$ sudo purge-old-kernels –keep 3

That's all folks enjoy ! 🙂


How to check if shared library is loaded in AIX OS – Fix missing

Thursday, February 20th, 2020


I've had to find out whether an externally Linux library is installed  on AIX system and whether something is not using it.
The returned errors was like so:


# gpg –export -a

Could not load program gpg:
Dependent module /opt/custom/lib/libreadline.a( could not be loaded.
Member is not found in archive

After a bit of investigation, I found that gpg was failing cause it linked to older version of, the workaround was to just substitute the newer version of over the original installed one.

Thus I had a plan to first find out whether this libreadline.a is loaded and recognized by AIX UNIX first and second find out whether some of the running processes is not using that library.
I've come across this interesting IBM official documenation that describes pretty good insights on how to determine whether a shared library  is currently loaded on the system. which mentions the genkld command that is doing
exactly what I needed.

In short:
genkld – creates a list that is printed to the console that shows all loaded shared libraries


Next I used lsof (list open files) command to check whether there is in real time opened libraries by any of the running programs on the system.

After not finding anything and was sure the library is neither loaded as a system library in AIX nor it is used by any of the currently running AIX processes, I was sure I could proceed to safely overwrite libreadline.a ( with libreadline.a with (

The result of that is again a normally running gpg as ldd command shows the binary is again normally linked to its dependend system libraries.

aix# ldd /usr/bin/gpg
/usr/bin/gpg needs:



# gpg –version
gpg (GnuPG) 1.4.22
Copyright (C) 2015 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


Home: ~/.gnupg
Supported algorithms:
Hash: MD5, SHA1, RIPEMD160, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, SHA224
Compression: Uncompressed, ZIP, ZLIB, BZIP2



Rsync copy files with root privileges between servers with root superuser account disabled

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019



Sometimes on servers that follow high security standards in companies following PCI Security (Payment Card Data Security) standards it is necessery to have a very weird configurations on servers,to be able to do trivial things such as syncing files between servers with root privileges in a weird manners.This is the case for example if due to security policies you have disabled root user logins via ssh server and you still need to synchronize files in directories such as lets say /etc , /usr/local/etc/ /var/ with root:root user and group belongings.

Disabling root user logins in sshd is controlled by a variable in /etc/ssh/sshd_config that on most default Linux OS
installations is switched on, e.g. 

grep -i permitrootlogin /etc/ssh/sshd_config
PermitRootLogin yes

Many corporations use Vulnerability Scanners such as Qualys are always having in their list of remote server scan for SSH Port 22 to turn have the PermitRootLogin stopped with:


PermitRootLogin no

In this article, I'll explain a scenario where we have synchronization between 2 or more servers Server A / Server B, whatever number of servers that have already turned off this value, but still need to
synchronize traditionally owned and allowed to write directories only by root superuser, here is 4 easy steps to acheive it.


1. Add rsyncuser to Source Server (Server A) and Destination (Server B)

a. Execute on Src Host:


groupadd rsyncuser
useradd -g 1000 -c 'Rsync user to sync files as root src_host' -d /home/rsyncuser -m rsyncuser


b. Execute on Dst Host:


groupadd rsyncuser
useradd -g 1000 -c 'Rsync user to sync files dst_host' -d /home/rsyncuser -m rsyncuser


2. Generate RSA SSH Key pair to be used for passwordless authentication

a. On Src Host

su – rsyncuser

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096


b. Check .ssh/ generated key pairs and make sure the directory content look like.


[rsyncuser@src-host .ssh]$ cd ~/.ssh/;  ls -1



3. Copy to Destination host server under authorized_keys


scp ~/.ssh/  rsyncuser@dst-host:~/.ssh/authorized_keys


Next fix permissions of authorized_keys file for rsyncuser as anyone who have access to that file (that exists as a user account) on the system
could steal the key and use it to run rsync commands and overwrite remotely files, like overwrite /etc/passwd /etc/shadow files with his custom crafted credentials
and hence hack you 🙂

Hence, On Destionation Host Server B fix permissions with:

su – rsyncuser; chmod 0600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
[rsyncuser@dst-host ~]$

An alternative way for the lazy sysadmins is to use the ssh-copy-id command


$ ssh-copy-id rsyncuser@
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: Source of key(s) to be installed: "/root/.ssh/"
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: attempting to log in with the new key(s), to filter out any that are already installed
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: 1 key(s) remain to be installed — if you are prompted now it is to install the new keys
root@'s password: 


For improved security here to restrict rsyncuser to be able to run only specific command such as very specific script instead of being able to run any command it is good to use little known command= option
once creating the authorized_keys


4. Test ssh passwordless authentication works correctly

For that Run as a normal ssh from rsyncuser

On Src Host


[rsyncuser@src-host ~]$ ssh rsyncuser@dst-host

Perhaps here is time that for those who, think enabling a passwordless authentication is not enough secure and prefer to authorize rsyncuser via a password red from a secured file take a look in my prior article how to login to remote server with password provided from command line as a script argument / Running same commands on many servers 

5. Enable rsync in sudoers to be able to execute as root superuser (copy files as root)


For this step you will need to have sudo package installed on the Linux server.

Then, Execute once logged in as root on Destionation Server (Server B)


[root@dst-host ~]# grep 'rsyncuser ALL' /etc/sudoers|wc -l || echo ‘rsyncuser ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/rsync’ >> /etc/sudoers


Note that using rsync with a ALL=NOPASSWD in /etc/sudoers could pose a high security risk for the system as anyone authorized to run as rsyncuser is able to overwrite and
respectivle nullify important files on Destionation Host Server B and hence easily mess the system, even shell script bugs could produce a mess, thus perhaps a better solution to the problem
to copy files with root privileges with the root account disabled is to rsync as normal user somewhere on Dst_host and use some kind of additional script running on Dst_host via lets say cron job and
will copy gently files on selective basis.

Perhaps, even a better solution would be if instead of granting ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/rsync in /etc/sudoers is to do ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/local/bin/
that will get triggered, once the files are copied with a regular rsyncuser acct.


6. Test rsync passwordless authentication copy with superuser works

Do some simple copy, lets say copy files on Encrypted tunnel configurations located under some directory in /etc/stunnel on Server A to /etc/stunnel on Server B

The general command to test is like so:

rsync -aPz -e 'ssh' '–rsync-path=sudo rsync' /var/log rsyncuser@$dst_host:/root/tmp/

This will copy /var/log files to /root/tmp, you will get a success messages for the copy and the files will be at destination folder if succesful.


On Src_Host run:


[rsyncuser@src-host ~]$ dst=FQDN-DST-HOST; user=rsyncuser; src_dir=/etc/stunnel; dst_dir=/root/tmp;  rsync -aP -e 'ssh' '–rsync-path=sudo rsync' $src_dir  $rsyncuser@$dst:$dst_dir;


7. Copying files with root credentials via script

The simlest file to use to copy a bunch of predefined files  is best to be handled by some shell script, the most simple version of it, could look something like this.

# On server1 use something like this
# On server2 dst server
# add in /etc/sudoers
# rsyncuser ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/rsync




for i in $(echo ${src[@]}); do
rsync -aPvz –delete –dry-run -e 'ssh' '–rsync-path=sudo rsync' "$i" $rsyncuser@$dst_host:$dst_dir"$i";

In above script as you can see, we define a bunch of files that will be copied in bash array and then run a loop to take each of them and copy to testination dir.
A very sample version of the script 


Lets do short overview on what we have done here. First Created rsyncuser on SRC Server A and DST Server B, set up the key pair on both copied the keys to make passwordless login possible,
set-up rsync to be able to write as root on Dst_Host / testing all the setup and pinpointing a small script that can be used as a backbone to develop something more complex
to sync backups or keep system configurations identicatial – for example if you have doubts that some user might by mistake change a config etc.
In short it was pointed the security downsides of using rsync NOPASSWD via /etc/sudoers and few ideas given that could be used to work on if you target even higher
PCI standards.


How to start / Stop and Analyze system services and improve Linux system boot time performance

Friday, July 5th, 2019

This post is going to be a very short one and to walk through shortly to System V basic start / stop remove service old way and the new ways introduced over the last 10 years or so with the introduction of systemd on mass base across Linux distributions.
Finally I'll give you few hints on how to check (analyze) the boot time performance on a modern GNU / Linux system that is using systemd enabled services.

1. System V and the old days few classic used ways to stop / start / restart services (runlevels and common wrapper scripts)


The old fashioned days when Linux was using SystemV / e.g. no SystemD used way was to just go through all the running services with following the run script logic inside the runlevel the system was booting, e.g. to check runlevel and then potimize each and every run script via the respective location of the bash service init scripts:


root@noah:/home/hipo# /sbin/runlevel 
N 5


Or on some RPM based distros like Fedora / RHEL / SUSE Enterprise Linux to use chkconfig command, e.g. list services:

~]# chkconfig –list

etworkManager  0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
abrtd           0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:off   5:on    6:off
acpid           0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
anamon          0:off   1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off
atd             0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
auditd          0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
avahi-daemon    0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off

And to start stop the service into (default runlevel) or respective runlevel:


~]#  chkconfig httpd on

~]# chkconfig –list httpd
httpd            0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off



~]# chkconfig service_name on –level runlevels


Debian / Ubuntu and other .deb based distributions with System V (which executes scripts without single order but one by one) are not having natively chkconfig but instead are famous for update-rc.d init script wrapper, here is few basic use  of it:

update-rc.d <service> defaults
update-rc.d <service> start 20 3 4 5
update-rc.d -f <service>  remove

Here defaults means default set boot runtime for system and numbers are just whether service is started or stopped for respective runlevels. To check what is your default one simply run /sbin/runlevel

Other useful tool to stop / start services and analyze what service is running and which not in real time (but without modifying boot time set for a service) – more universal nowadays is to use the service command.

root@noah:/home/hipo# service –status-all
 [ + ]  acpid
 [ – ]  alsa-utils
 [ – ]  anacron
 [ + ]  apache-htcacheclean
 [ – ]  apache2
 [ + ]  atd
 [ + ]  aumix

root@noah:/home/hipo# service cron restart/usr/sbin/service command is just a simple wrapper bash shell script that takes care about start / stop etc. operations of scripts found under /etc/init.d

For those who don't want to tamper with too much typing and manual configuration there is an all distribution system V compatible ncurses interface text itnerface sysv-rc-conf which could make your life easier on configuring services on non-systemd (old) Linux-es.

To install on Debian distros:

debian:~# apt-get install sysv-rc-conf

debian:~# sysv-rc-conf

SysV RC Conf desktop on GNU Linux using sysv-rc-conf systemV and systemd

2. SystemD basic use Start / stop check service and a little bit of information
for the novice

As most Linux kernel based distributions except some like Slackware and few others see the full list of Linux distributions without systemd (and aha yes slackw. users loves rc.local so much – we all do 🙂  migrated and are nowadays using actively SystemD, to start / stop analyze running system runnig services / processes

systemctl – Control the systemd system and service manager

To check whether a service is enabled

systemctl is-active application.service

To check whether a unit is in a failed state

systemctl is-failed application.service

To get a status of running application via systemctl messaging

# systemctl status sshd
● ssh.service – OpenBSD Secure Shell server Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/ssh.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Sat 2019-07-06 20:01:02 EEST; 2h 3min ago Main PID: 1335 (sshd) Tasks: 1 (limit: 4915) CGroup: /system.slice/ssh.service └─1335 /usr/sbin/sshd -D юли 06 20:01:00 noah systemd[1]: Starting OpenBSD Secure Shell server… юли 06 20:01:02 noah sshd[1335]: Server listening on port 22. юли 06 20:01:02 noah sshd[1335]: Server listening on :: port 22. юли 06 20:01:02 noah systemd[1]: Started OpenBSD Secure Shell server.

To enable / disable application with systemctl systemctl enable application.service

systemctl disable application.service

To stop / start given application systemcl stop sshd

systemctl stop tor

To reload running application

systemctl reload sshd

Some applications does not have the right functionality in systemd script to reload configuration without fully restarting the app if this is the case use systemctl reload-or-restart application.service

systemctl list-unit-files

Then to view the content of a single service unit file:

:~# systemctl cat apache2.service
# /lib/systemd/system/apache2.service
Description=The Apache HTTP Server

ExecStart=/usr/sbin/apachectl start
ExecStop=/usr/sbin/apachectl stop
ExecReload=/usr/sbin/apachectl graceful



systemd's advancement over normal SystemV services it is able to track and show dependencies
of a single run service for proper operation on other services

:~# systemctl list-dependencies sshd.service


● ├─system.slice
● └─
●   ├─dev-hugepages.mount
●   ├─dev-mqueue.mount
●   ├─keyboard-setup.service
●   ├─kmod-static-nodes.service
●   ├─proc-sys-fs-binfmt_misc.automount
●   ├─sys-fs-fuse-connections.mount
●   ├─sys-kernel-config.mount
●   ├─sys-kernel-debug.mount
●   ├─systemd-ask-password-console.path
●   ├─systemd-binfmt.service



You can also mask / unmask service e.g. make it temporary unavailable via systemd with

sudo systemctl mask nginx.service

it will then appear as masked if you do list-unit-files

If you want to change something on a systemd unit file this is done with

systemctl edit –full nginx.service

In case if some modificatgion was done to systemd service files e.g. lets say to
/etc/systemd/system/apache2.service or even you've made a Linux system Upgrade recently
that added extra systemd service config files it will be necessery to reload all files
present in /etc/systemd/system/* with:

systemctl daemon-reload

Systemd has a target states which are pretty similar to the runlevel concept (e.g. runlevel 5 means graphical etc.), for example to check the default target for a system:

One very helpful feature is to restart systemd but it seems this is not well documented as of now and though this might work after some system package upgrade roll-outs it is always better to reboot the system, but you can give it a try if restart can't be done due to application criticallity.

To restart systemd and its spawned subprocesses do:

systemctl daemon-reexec


root@noah:/home/hipo# systemctl get-default

 to check all targets possible targets

root@noah:/home/hipo# systemctl list-unit-files –type=target
UNIT FILE                 STATE              static          static           static     static         static       disabled            static          static               disabled              static              static          static  

you can put the system in Single user mode if you like without running the good old well known command:

/sbin/init 1 

command with

systemctl rescue

You can even shutdown / poweroff / reboot system via systemctl (though I never did that and I don't recommend) 🙂
To do so use:

systemctl halt
systemctl poweroff
systemctl reboot

For the lazy ones that don't want to type all the time like crazy to configure and manage simple systemctl set services take a look at chkservice – an ncurses text based menu systemctl management interface

As chkservice is relatively new it is still not present in stable Stretch Debian repositories but it is in current testing Debian unstable Buster / Sid – Testing / Unstable distribution and has installable package for Ubuntu / Arch Linux and Fedora

Picture Source

chkservice linux help screen

3. Analyzing and fix performance boot slowness issues due to a service taking long to boot

The first very useful thing is to know how long exactly all daemons / services got booted
on your GNU / Linux OS.

linux-server:~# systemd-analyze 
Startup finished in 4.135s (kernel) + 3min 47.863s (userspace) = 3min 51.998s

As you can see it reports both the kernel boot time and userspace (surrounding services
that had to boot for the system to be considered fully booted).

Once you have the system properly booted you have a console or / ssh access

root@pcfreak:/home/hipo# systemd-analyze blame
    2min 14.172s tor@default.service
    1min 40.455s docker.service
     1min 3.649s fail2ban.service
         58.806s nmbd.service
         53.992s rc-local.service
         51.458s systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service
         50.495s mariadb.service
         46.348s snort.service
         34.910s ModemManager.service
         33.748s squid.service
         32.226s ejabberd.service
         28.207s certbot.service
         28.104s networking.service
         23.639s munin-node.service
         20.917s smbd.service
         20.261s tinyproxy.service
         19.981s accounts-daemon.service
         18.501s loadcpufreq.service
         16.756s stunnel4.service
         15.575s oidentd.service
         15.376s dev-sda1.device
         15.368s courier-authdaemon.service
         15.301s sysstat.service
         15.154s gpm.service
         13.276s systemd-logind.service
         13.251s rsyslog.service
         13.240s lpd.service
         13.237s pppd-dns.service
         12.904s NetworkManager-wait-online.service
         12.540s lm-sensors.service
         12.525s watchdog.service
         12.515s inetd.service

As you can see you get a list of services time took to boot in secs and you can
further debug each of it to find out why it boots so slow (netwok / DNS / configuration isssue whatever).

On a servers it is useful to look up for some processes slowing it down like gdm.service etc.


Close up words rant on SystemD vs SysemV


A lot could be ranted on what is better systemd or systemV. I personally hated systemd since day since I saw it being introduced first in Fedora / CentOS linuxes and a bit later in my beloved desktop used Debian Linux.
I still remember the bugs and headaches with systemd's intruduction as it is with all new the early adoption of technology makes a lot of pain in the ass.
Eventually systemd has become a standard and with my employment as a contractor through Itelligence GmBH for SAP AG I now am forced to work with systemd daily on SLES 12 based Linuces and I was forced to get used to it. 
But still there is my personal preference to SystemV even though the critics of slow boot etc.but for managing a multitude of Linux preinstalled servers like Virtual Machines and trying to standardize a Data Center with Tens of Thousands of Linuxes running on different Hypervisors VMWare / OpenXen + physical hosts etc. systemd brings a bit of more standardization that makes it a winner.

Remove pre-installed HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, Toshiba not needed default vendor software on a new bought PC notebook quickly with Decrap My Computer

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

While browsing today and looking for software to clean up all the spy software from my corporate HP laptop, I've come across an interesting tool called Decrap which aims at removing Bloatware from a Windows PC / notebook (mirrored here because original software site was down)

So what is Bloatware ?

The term Bloatware (also called jokingly crapware) is term is the one that was coined to describe, the default pre-installed software that comes to you together with Windows pre-installed OS by the hardware manufacturer.
I'm sure anyone who bought brand new branded PC or laptop over the last 10 years have already suffered the unwanted and unnecessery
bunch of software that comes pre-installed freeware programs aiming to help you in your daily work but in reality just slowing down your PC
and showing annoying popups or at best keeping useless in Windows system apptray.

Let me give you an example:

Cleanup (Remove) common ASUS, HP, Dell default  installed unneded (Bloatware) software

Many users may want to uninstall ASUS Crapware software such as ASUS Tutor, ASUS LifeFrame3, ASUS WebStorage and ASUSVibe.

Like Asus, HP computers often come preloaded with useless software from factory, example for this is HP Customer Service enhancements, HP Update, HP Total Care Setup and ProtectSmart.

If you buy Dell PC notebook soon you'll discover that there are several preloaded software (often unnecessery software) such as Dell Stage, Dell Digital Delivery and Dell DataSafe.

Toshiba computers and notebooks contain pre-loeaded "crapware" software from Toshiba.
Just to mention a few of those: Toshiba Disc Creator, Toshiba ReelTime, Service Station, Bulletin Board and Toshiba Assist.

Often there are fingerprint reader programs, Wi-Fi connection managers, Bluetooth managers, Audio Management sofware and other third party vendor software which tend to be not working as good as others softwares from third vendor, so Decrap is to help you to identify and remove these too in a easy GUI manner.

Non-experienced Computer users often leave the bloatware to hang around for even years and only if some relative that is an IT involved person / sysadmin / Even once you're aware that the Bloatware is on the system the ordinary user is hard to remove it as he is scared not to break the system.
Besides that fften this bloatware just soft comes so much integrated into Windows that removing it costs hours of tries and research online on
all the Bloatware components and even then could mislead you so you break the PC. programmer etc. comes home of such users finds out about the happily existing of the useless software on the notebook.

So here is Decrap My Computer coming at place aiming to help to remove the unnecessery Hardware vendor software in few easy (Click, Click, Click Next ..) steps.


Then decrap does silently all the complex operations and suggestions to make the HP, Dell, Asus, Toshiba manufacturer prebundled software to be stopped and uninstalled.
Decrap My Computer is a freeware, lightweight and easy to use and lets you safely remove crapware and bloatware, or any software, from any Windows PC.

Even for Old computers, Decrap comes handy for the unexperienced avarage user who used his laptop with this useless  default vendors programs silently killing the performance respectively user experience for years.

Using Decrap is quite intuitive PC is scanned for Bloatware and then after a backup Windows Restore Point is offered you're offered to review and Uninstall the unwanted softwares. There is also an automatic mode but those one still could be a bit dangerous, so use the automatic mode only on multiple machines with the same model  / brand notebooks that comes prebundled with same sofware after testing and confirming the automatic mode on 1 initial machine will not break up some needed functionality.


Here is few screenshots of the tool in action:



Another good alternative (since decrap seems to be not maintained anymore) as I just leardned from Natasha Myles (thanks for pointing me about the broken link to decrap website) is SpeedUpPC more on speeding up old PC or laptop is her article