After upgrading to Jessie, watchdog doesn't start at boot anymore. Starting it manually using "sudo service watchdog start" does work. I tried:

  • purging and reinstalling watchdog
  • update-rc.d

I checked

What else can I try?

  • 1
    You should include the exact update-rc.d command you used, what your default runlevel is (runlevel will tell you), and then what priority update-rc.d assigned in the init directory for that service (those are /etc/rcN.d, where N is the runlevel; the priority is the number prefixed to the service file link). You might also want to try systemctl list-units | grep -i watchdog to see if you can use systemd directly for this instead.
    – goldilocks
    Jul 26 '15 at 14:34
  • My runlevel is 5, the priority also is 5. I used sudo update-rc.d watchdog defaults and sudo update-rc.d watchdog enable. The output of systemctl is empty.
    – BenjaminH
    Jul 27 '15 at 13:38
  • You might want to about this on Unix & Linux. Include all the details you have here, including the fact that update-rc.d did work because /etc/rc5.d/S05watchdog exists (that's all update-rc.d does, so that is not the problem, presuming that is the name of the link you found).
    – goldilocks
    Jul 27 '15 at 13:51

Over at Unix & Linux Ineb answered:


/lib/systemd/system/watchdog.service and add 


Systemd needs the [Install]-Section for a Unit to know how it should enable/disable the Unit.

After that calling systemctl enable watchdog worked.

  • [Install] section is there, but service doesn't start automatically. What to do?
    – Paul
    Dec 14 '17 at 21:50
  • 1
    Normally systemctl enable watchdog should do this. Is there any output when you try to enable the service?
    – BenjaminH
    Dec 16 '17 at 12:31
  • sudo systemctl enable watchdog Synchronizing state for watchdog.service with sysvinit using update-rc.d... Executing /usr/sbin/update-rc.d watchdog defaults Executing /usr/sbin/update-rc.d watchdog enable. And /etc/init.d/watchdog status shows active (running) when started manually. Then I make reboot and ... Oh gosh! It is active! Thank you, but I don't know why it worked this time.
    – Paul
    Dec 17 '17 at 13:42

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