I was trying to make an access-point with a captive portal on my raspberry pi running Raspbian Stretch.

I have correctly configure hostapd and dnsmasq to make my AP work correctly a couple of weeks later, but nowadays I tried to make my AP work but I can't even enable the process. This is the error log when I tried to disable, or even enable it.

systemctl disable hostapd

Synchronizing state of hostapd.service with SysV service script with /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install.
Executing: /lib/systemd/systemd-sysv-install disable hostapd
Failed to disable unit: Invalid argument

When I run system-analyze verify, it returns the next:

systemd-analyze verify hostapd.service
[/etc/systemd/system/hostapd.service:1] Assignment outside of section. Ignoring.
[/etc/systemd/system/hostapd.service:2] Assignment outside of section. Ignoring.
[/etc/systemd/system/hostapd.service:3] Assignment outside of section. Ignoring.
hostapd.service: Service lacks both ExecStart= and ExecStop= setting. Refusing.
hostapd.service: Failed to create hostapd.service/start: Unit hostapd.service is not loaded properly: Invalid argument.

And when I have tried to run apt remove hostapd

(Reading database ... 92822 files or directories currently installed.)
Uninstalling hostapd (2:2.6-21~bpo9~rpt1) ...
Failed to stop hostapd.service: Unit hostapd.service not loaded.
invoke-rc.d: initscript hostapd, action "stop" failed.
dpkg: error processing package hostapd (--remove):
 subprocess installing pre-removal script returns error code 5
Error processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

(I translate the last return lines because there are in Spanish, I think there are accurate).

And with this problem I'm not able to run hostapd or even uninstalling and configuring again...

Any clues on how to resolve my problem?

Thank you!

  • 1
    I normally use the service commands, have you tried sudo service hostapd stop?
    – Dr_Bunsen
    Nov 5, 2019 at 15:47
  • 1
    @Dr_Bunsen It doesn't make any difference. This old deprecated commands are emulated by systemd and they execute exactly the same then using systemctl direct.
    – Ingo
    Nov 5, 2019 at 18:28
  • You can't have "correctly" configured it because it generates errors
    – Milliways
    Nov 5, 2019 at 21:19
  • Yes, I have tried sudo service hostapd stop. Nov 6, 2019 at 7:46
  • @Milliways And yes, the configuration is correct, but first, you must limit to read what the error logs are saying, I solved the problem after a lot of tries. Nov 6, 2019 at 7:49

1 Answer 1


The solution passed to remove the service file in /etc/systemd/system/hostapd.service. Using cat in this file, because nano wasn't able to open it, I saw that the file was corrupted, so I delete the file and now, I am able to start/stop the service, and everything related.

Thank you to the ones that have tried to help me!

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