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       activate - read/write flags marking active boot partition


       /sbin/activate device
       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 (
       Peter Maydell ( wrote this manual page.


       lilo(8), fdisk(8)

       lilo   comes  with  extensive  documentation;  this  can  be  found  in
       /usr/share/doc/lilo/ on Debian systems.

                                  March 1998