If I install a new service then decide I don’t want that application anymore and delete it, the service is still listed in the output from systemctl as error.

Where is this coming from and how can I remove them thoroughly?


My recipe for service obliteration (be careful with the rm statements!)

systemctl stop [servicename]
systemctl disable [servicename]
rm /etc/systemd/system/[servicename]
rm /etc/systemd/system/[servicename] symlinks that might be related
systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl reset-failed

It is possible that the systemd service 'wraps' the old style scripts in /etc/init.d, so you may want to clean that up too, but that is not where systemd services live.

  • 7
    Be aware that there are multiple locations where Systemd unit files are stored, notably /usr/lib/systemd/system and also /etc/systemd/system/. For reference see: access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux/… – Mark Edington Mar 8 '17 at 0:18
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    I had also to remove /etc/init.d/[servicename] before running systemctl reset-failed – Andrea Jun 7 '17 at 15:21
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    Right, I forgot to disable before removing the unit files. BTW, to find all unit files to remove, I inspect the output of systemctl cat [servicename]. – Amir Sep 17 '17 at 14:55
  • It may be a "wrapped" old style script in /etc/init.d/ but if you dont remove it you will find it still showing up under services left over from your removal. I can tell you that was the case for me. You could simply add that to your answer to make it more complete but hopefully the next person that needs it will look at the comments. – Marlon Nov 29 '17 at 1:30
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    That worked, thank you, but I am not sure why I am made to clean up this garbage manually. – Rolf Mar 31 '18 at 1:19

You are probably looking for reset-failed:

$ sudo systemctl reset-failed

From the systemd man page:

reset-failed [PATTERN...]

Reset the "failed" state of the specified units, or if no unit name is passed, reset the state of all units. When a unit fails in some way (i.e. process exiting with non-zero error code, terminating abnormally or timing out), it will automatically enter the "failed" state and its exit code and status is recorded for introspection by the administrator until the service is restarted or reset with this command.

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    That isn't what the question is asking for at all. Why on earth has this been upvoted 17 times? – psusi Nov 7 '18 at 16:54
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    This is the only correct answer. The other ones with more upvotes and the check mark are workarounds. – Thomas Nov 21 '18 at 11:37
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    I have not read the OP's question, but this was the answer I was looking for. – CousinCocaine Sep 3 at 8:41

Sounds like you uninstalled it, but didn't remove the systemd hook:

# systemctl disable [servicename]


Adding on to @mark-lakata's answer and keeping in mind the attentiveness required for the rm command. [chkconfig] can simplify the process!(click here to read about chkconfig)

To re-iterate the list of commands:

  1. systemctl stop [servicename]
  2. chkconfig [servicename] off
  3. systemctl daemon-reload
  4. systemctl reset-failed

Note: The 1st command is optional depending on whether you want keep the service running in the present session or not (as for this question the command should be used).

The 2nd command takes care of both disabling and removing (following the symlinks) the service.

  • 1
    chkconfig was the original command to enable/disable SysVinit services. In systems using systemd, it may be present as a backward compatibility command; but the native systemctl command is just as simple: systemctl disable [servicename] – telcoM Jul 29 '18 at 13:29
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    Okay, but the reason for me using this command is, you then don't have to explicitly run the rm command – garlicFrancium Jul 29 '18 at 19:23

Removing a service from systemd :

Systemd uses unit (file to define services) to remove a service the unit have to be removed... here is a list of unit locations :

/etc/systemd/system/ (and sub directories)
/usr/local/etc/systemd/system/ (and sub directories)
~/.config/systemd/user/ (and sub directories)
/usr/lib/systemd/ (and sub directories)
/usr/local/lib/systemd/ (and sub directories)
/etc/init.d/ (Converted old service system)

Refresh systemd :

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl reset-failed

Ghost services (not-found) :

Systemd can list ghost (not-found) services even if the unit is deleted for many reasons

  1. unit still present on one of the systemd directory
  2. unit does not exit but a file link is still present on one of the systemd directory
  3. the service is used in other unit(s)*

(*) if a service is mentioned in other unit but does not exist systemd will still list that service with the state not-found even if there is not unit file... you can search what unit is using that service with a text search and edit those units (not recommended if you plan to install that service later)

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