Section: systemd-firstboot (1)
Page Index


systemd-firstboot, systemd-firstboot.service - Initialize basic system settings on or before the first boot-up of a system  


systemd-firstboot [OPTIONS...]



systemd-firstboot initializes the most basic system settings interactively on the first boot, or optionally non-interactively when a system image is created. The service is started if ConditionFirstBoot=yes is satisfied. This essentially means that /etc/ is empty, see systemd.unit(5) for details.

The following settings may be set up:

• The system locale, more specifically the two locale variables LANG= and LC_MESSAGES

• The system keyboard map

• The system time zone

• The system hostname

• The machine ID of the system

• The root user's password

Each of the fields may either be queried interactively by users, set non-interactively on the tool's command line, or be copied from a host system that is used to set up the system image.

If a setting is already initialized, it will not be overwritten and the user will not be prompted for the setting.

Note that this tool operates directly on the file system and does not involve any running system services, unlike localectl(1), timedatectl(1) or hostnamectl(1). This allows systemd-firstboot to operate on mounted but not booted disk images and in early boot. It is not recommended to use systemd-firstboot on the running system while it is up.  


The following options are understood:


Takes a directory path as an argument. All paths will be prefixed with the given alternate root path, including config search paths. This is useful to operate on a system image mounted to the specified directory instead of the host system itself.


Takes a path to a disk image file or block device node. If specified all operations are applied to file system in the indicated disk image. This is similar to --root= but operates on file systems stored in disk images or block devices. The disk image should either contain just a file system or a set of file systems within a GPT partition table, following the m[blue]Discoverable Partitions Specificationm[][1]. For further information on supported disk images, see systemd-nspawn(1)'s switch of the same name.

--locale=LOCALE, --locale-messages=LOCALE

Sets the system locale, more specifically the LANG= and LC_MESSAGES settings. The argument should be a valid locale identifier, such as "de_DE.UTF-8". This controls the locale.conf(5) configuration file.


Sets the system keyboard layout. The argument should be a valid keyboard map, such as "de-latin1". This controls the "KEYMAP" entry in the vconsole.conf(5) configuration file.


Sets the system time zone. The argument should be a valid time zone identifier, such as "Europe/Berlin". This controls the localtime(5) symlink.


Sets the system hostname. The argument should be a hostname, compatible with DNS. This controls the hostname(5) configuration file.


Sets the system's machine ID. This controls the machine-id(5) file.

--root-password=PASSWORD, --root-password-file=PATH, --root-password-hashed=HASHED_PASSWORD

Sets the password of the system's root user. This creates/modifies the passwd(5) and shadow(5) files. This setting exists in three forms: --root-password= accepts the password to set directly on the command line, --root-password-file= reads it from a file and --root-password-hashed= accepts an already hashed password on the command line. See shadow(5) for more information on the format of the hashed password. Note that it is not recommended to specify plaintext passwords on the command line, as other users might be able to see them simply by invoking ps(1).


Sets the shell of the system's root user. This creates/modifies the passwd(5) file.


Sets the system's kernel command line. This controls the /etc/kernel/cmdline file which is used by kernel-install(8).

--prompt-locale, --prompt-keymap, --prompt-timezone, --prompt-hostname, --prompt-root-password, --prompt-root-shell

Prompt the user interactively for a specific basic setting. Note that any explicit configuration settings specified on the command line take precedence, and the user is not prompted for it.


Query the user for locale, keymap, timezone, hostname, root's password, and root's shell. This is equivalent to specifying --prompt-locale, --prompt-keymap, --prompt-timezone, --prompt-hostname, --prompt-root-password, --prompt-root-shell in combination.

--copy-locale, --copy-keymap, --copy-timezone, --copy-root-password, --copy-root-shell

Copy a specific basic setting from the host. This only works in combination with --root= (see above).


Copy locale, keymap, time zone, root password and shell from the host. This is equivalent to specifying --copy-locale, --copy-keymap, --copy-timezone, --copy-root-password, --copy-root-shell in combination.


Initialize the system's machine ID to a random ID. This only works in combination with --root=.


systemd-firstboot doesn't modify existing files unless --force is specified. For modifications to /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow, systemd-firstboot only modifies the entry of the "root" user instead of overwriting the entire file.


Removes the password of the system's root user, enabling login as root without a password unless the root account is locked. Note that this is extremely insecure and hence this option should not be used lightly.


Takes a boolean argument. By default when prompting the user for configuration options a brief welcome text is shown before the first question is asked. Pass false to this option to turn off the welcome text.

-h, --help

Print a short help text and exit.


Print a short version string and exit.


On success, 0 is returned, a non-zero failure code otherwise.  



Takes a boolean argument, defaults to on. If off, systemd-firstboot.service won't interactively query the user for basic settings at first boot, even if those settings are not initialized yet.


systemd(1), locale.conf(5), vconsole.conf(5), localtime(5), hostname(5), machine-id(5), shadow(5), systemd-machine-id-setup(1), localectl(1), timedatectl(1), hostnamectl(1)  


Discoverable Partitions Specification