Running scripts on boot in Linux using systemd

Running scripts on boot in Linux using systemd


In this article, we will configure our Linux computer to autorun a script on boot. For the purpose of this article, we will be making use of systemd services.

BTW, I use Arch Linux so if there’s any difference using a different distro, do not hesitate to leave a comment, please.


What is systemd

systemd is a suite of basic building blocks for a Linux system. It provides a system and a service manager that runs as PID and starts the rest of the system. systemd provides aggressive parallelisation capabilities, uses sockets and D-Bus activation for starting services, keep track of processes etc.

You can read more on systemd here.

The main command used to introspect and control systemd is systemctl.


  • First, we will create a Bash script in /usr/local/sbin, for instance []( that would notify a remote machine once it’s booted.
  • We will make the file executable by running the command:

      sudo chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/
  • Create a Unit file called startup.service in /etc/systemd/system/ to define a systemd service. You would need root access (sudo) to make changes or create these files.

  • We will make the file executable by running the command:

      sudo chmod +x /etc/systemd/system/startup.service
  • In /etc/systemd/system/startup.service we would paste the below into the file as such:

      Description=My Startup
  • The ExecStart is the most important key here because it points to the Bash program that will be run when the service is started.

  • We can test the service by running sudo systemctl start startup.service to confirm that the script will run

  • Now to enable services to run on boot, we will run the command

      sudo systemctl enable startup.service


Now we should successfully create a script that runs automatically anytime we start our Linux machine.

You can consult systemd man page for more information.

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