Index · Directives systemd 227


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 following settings may be set up:

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

  • The system time zone

  • The system host name

  • The machine ID of the system

  • The root user's password

Each of the fields may either be queried interactively from the 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.

--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 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 host name, 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

Sets the password of the system's root user. This creates a shadow(5) file. This setting exists in two forms: --root-password= accepts the password to set directly on the command line, --root-password-file= reads it from a file. Note that it is not recommended specifying passwords on the command line as other users might be able to see them simply by invoking ps(1).

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

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, timezone, hostname and root password. This is equivalent to specifying --prompt-locale, --prompt-timezone, --prompt-hostname, --prompt-root-password in combination.

--copy-locale, --copy-timezone, --copy-root-password

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


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


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

-h, --help

Print a short help text and exit.


Print a short version string and exit.

Exit status

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

See Also

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