activate - read/write flags marking active boot partition
show which partition is currently marked active on device
/sbin/activate device partition
mark specified partition as active on given device
activate is a simple program which sets the partition which will be
used to boot the system. To be precise, it sets a flag in the partition
table of the hard disk. This may or may not have an effect on the
bootup procedure. PC booting is complicated, and this manual page does
not attempt to explain it; for more information on what partition you
should set active, you should consult the documentation for your
bootloader (an example bootloader is lilo, which has a good manual in
/usr/share/doc/lilo/ on Debian systems).
Note that programs such as fdisk will also allow you to set the active
partition; it is probably better to use one of these, since they
generally provide services such as allowing you to view the partition
table before picking which partition to activate, and provide
opportunity to confirm actions before writing to the partition table.
However, these programs have more checking for ’wrong’ values; for
instance, they might not allow you to set the active flag on an
extended partition (because this is generally a bad idea). activate,
on the other hand, assumes you really do know what you’re doing and
doesn’t have any bothersome prompts or sanity checks. In particular,
activate makes no checks that the device you give has a partition table
on it at all! If you specify the wrong device it will happily write
garbage to it.
device should be a block device such as /dev/hda. Note that it does not
make sense to give one of the partition devices such as /dev/hda3.
partition should be a number between 1 and 4 specifying which partition
should have the active flag set.
If no partition number is given, activate will print out the partition
which is currently marked active.
activate should check that the device actually has a partition table on
Werner Almesberger (email@example.com).
Peter Maydell (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote this manual page.
lilo comes with extensive documentation; this can be found in
/usr/share/doc/lilo/ on Debian systems.