Other distribution provided the file called /etc/rc.local but Debian does not use rc.local to customize the boot process. You can use simple method as follows to customize it.

(A) Execute command at system startup
Let us assume you would like to run command called

i) Create a script called mystartup.sh in /etc/init.d/ directory(login as root)
# vi /etc/init.d/mystartup.sh

ii) Add commands to this script one by one:
echo “Setting up customized environment…”

iii) Setup executable permission on script:
# chmod +x /etc/init.d/mystartup.sh

iv)Make sure this script get executed every time Debian Linux system boot up/comes up:
# update-rc.d mystartup.sh defaults 100

mystartup.sh: Your startup script name
defaults : The argument ‘defaults’ refers to the default runlevels, which are 2 through 5.
100 : Number 100 means script will get executed before any script containing number 101. Just run the command ls –l /etc/rc3.d/ and you will see all script soft linked to /etc/init.d with numbers.

Next time you reboot the system, you custom command or script will get executed via mystartup.sh. You can add more commands to this file or even call other shell/perl scripts from this file too.

(B) Execute shell script at system startup
Open the file mystartup.sh in /etc/init.d/ directory
# vi /etc/init.d/ mystartup.sh

Append your script path to the end as follows (suppose your script is /root/fw.start – script that starts firewall)


Save the file.

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