activate - read/write flags marking active boot partition
show which partition is currently marked active on
/sbin/activate device partition
mark specified partition as active on given
activate is a simple program which sets the partition
which will be used to boot the system. To be precise, it
sets a flag in the partition table of the hard disk. This
may or may not have an effect on the bootup procedure. PC
booting is complicated, and this manual page does not
attempt to explain it; for more information on what
partition you should set active, you should consult the
documentation for your bootloader (an example bootloader is
lilo, which has a good manual in /usr/share/doc/lilo/
on Debian systems).
Note that programs such as fdisk will also allow you
to set the active partition; it is probably better to use
one of these, since they generally provide services such as
allowing you to view the partition table before picking
which partition to activate, and provide opportunity to
confirm actions before writing to the partition table.
However, these programs have more checking for 'wrong'
values; for instance, they might not allow you to set the
active flag on an extended partition (because this is
generally a bad idea). activate, on the other hand,
assumes you really do know what you're doing and doesn't
have any bothersome prompts or sanity checks. In particular,
activate makes no checks that the device you
give has a partition table on it at all! If you specify the
wrong device it will happily write garbage to
device should be a block device such as /dev/hda.
Note that it does not make sense to give one of the
partition devices such as /dev/hda3.
partition should be a number between 1 and 4
specifying which partition should have the active flag
If no partition number is given, activate will print out the
partition which is currently marked active.
activate should check that the device actually has a
partition table on it.
Werner Almesberger (email@example.com).
Peter Maydell (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote this
lilo comes with extensive documentation; this can be
found in /usr/share/doc/lilo/ on Debian