machine-id — Local machine ID configuration file
/etc/machine-id file contains the unique machine ID of
the local system that is set during installation or boot. The machine ID is a single
newline-terminated, hexadecimal, 32-character, lowercase ID. When decoded from
hexadecimal, this corresponds to a 16-byte/128-bit value. This ID may not be all
The machine ID is usually generated from a random source during system installation or first boot and stays constant for all subsequent boots. Optionally, for stateless systems, it is generated during runtime during early boot if necessary.
The machine ID may be set, for example when network booting, with the
systemd.machine_id= kernel command line parameter or by passing the
--machine-id= to systemd. An ID specified in this manner
has higher priority and will be used instead of the ID stored in
The machine ID does not change based on local or network configuration or when hardware is replaced. Due to this and its greater length, it is a more useful replacement for the gethostid(3) call that POSIX specifies.
This machine ID adheres to the same format and logic as the D-Bus machine ID.
This ID uniquely identifies the host. It should be considered "confidential", and must not be exposed in untrusted environments, in particular on the network. If a stable unique identifier that is tied to the machine is needed for some application, the machine ID or any part of it must not be used directly. Instead the machine ID should be hashed with a cryptographic, keyed hash function, using a fixed, application-specific key. That way the ID will be properly unique, and derived in a constant way from the machine ID but there will be no way to retrieve the original machine ID from the application-specific one. The sd_id128_get_machine_app_specific(3) API provides an implementation of such an algorithm.
Each machine should have a non-empty ID in normal operation. The ID of each
machine should be unique. To achieve those objectives,
/etc/machine-id can be initialized in a few different ways.
For normal operating system installations, where a custom image is created for a
/etc/machine-id should be populated during
may be used by installer tools to initialize the machine ID at install time, but
/etc/machine-id may also be written using any other means.
For operating system images which are created once and used on multiple machines, for example for
containers or in the cloud,
/etc/machine-id should be either missing or an empty
file in the generic file system image (the difference between the two options is described under "First
Boot Semantics" below). An ID will be generated during boot and saved to this file if possible. Having an
empty file in place is useful because it allows a temporary file to be bind-mounted over the real file,
in case the image is used read-only. Also see Safely
may be used to initialize
/etc/machine-id on mounted (but not
booted) system images.
When a machine is booted with
the ID of the machine will be established. If
--machine-id= options (see first section) are specified, this
value will be used. Otherwise, the value in
be used. If this file is empty or missing,
systemd will attempt
to use the D-Bus machine ID from
value of the kernel command line option
container_uuid, the KVM DMI
product_uuid or the devicetree
(on KVM systems), and finally a randomly generated UUID.
After the machine ID is established,
will attempt to save it to
/etc/machine-id. If this fails, it
will attempt to bind-mount a temporary file over
It is an error if the file system is read-only and does not contain a (possibly empty)
will attempt to write the machine ID to the file system if
/etc/ are read-only during
early boot but become writable later on.
/etc/machine-id is used to decide whether a boot is the first one. The rules
are as follows:
The kernel command argument
systemd.condition-first-boot= may be
used to override the autodetection logic, see
/etc/machine-id does not exist, this is a first
boot. During early boot, systemd will write "
this file and overmount a temporary file which contains the actual machine ID. Later (after
first-boot-complete.target has been reached), the real machine ID will be written
/etc/machine-id contains the string "
a boot is also considered the first boot. The same mechanism as above applies.
/etc/machine-id exists and is empty, a boot is
not considered the first boot. systemd will still bind-mount a file
containing the actual machine-id over it and later try to commit it to disk (if
/etc/machine-id already contains a valid machine-id, this is
not a first boot.
If according to the above rules a first boot is detected, units with
ConditionFirstBoot=yes will be run and systemd will perform
additional initialization steps, in particular presetting units.
Note that the machine ID historically is not an OSF UUID as defined by RFC 4122, nor a Microsoft GUID; however, starting with systemd v30, newly generated machine IDs do qualify as Variant 1 Version 4 UUIDs, as per RFC 4122.
In order to maintain compatibility with existing installations, an application requiring a strictly
RFC 4122 compliant UUID should decode the machine ID, and then (non-reversibly) apply the following
operations to turn it into a valid RFC 4122 Variant 1 Version 4 UUID. With "
id" being an
unsigned character array:
/* Set UUID version to 4 --- truly random generation */ id = (id & 0x0F) | 0x40; /* Set the UUID variant to DCE */ id = (id & 0x3F) | 0x80;
(This code is inspired by
drivers/char/random.c from the Linux kernel
The simple configuration file format of
/etc/machine-id originates in the
/var/lib/dbus/machine-id file introduced by
D-Bus. In fact, this latter file might be a symlink to