I have a timer/service unit-set that should run once a day under --user conditions. It shows up with systemctl --user status and gets logged in journal but there is a part of the command that fails.

It seems that something in the command is not being interpreted correctly. I want to futz with the unit file and run the service, examine the log, etc to debug the issue; however editing the timer to trigger a minute in the future, waiting, and checking the log is... tedious.

Can do something like systemctl --user execute xxxxxx.service to just run the dang thing as if the timer triggered?

1 Answer 1


You can activate any unit manually, unless it contains a RefuseManualStart=yes and/or RefuseManualStop=yes directive (which do exactly what they say). Just issue systemctl --user start <whatever> (and systemctl --user stop <whatever> to do the opposite).

To quote systemctl(1):

start PATTERN...

Start (activate) one or more units specified on the command line.


stop PATTERN...

Stop (deactivate) one or more units specified on the command line.

  • Not working here: Failed to restart {foo}.service: Operation refused, unit {foo}.service may be requested by dependency only.
    – eMPee584
    Jul 9, 2019 at 18:01
  • 1
    @eMPee584 Since this answer was written, systemd gained new directives RefuseManualStart= and RefuseManualStop= (which do exactly what they say). I've updated my answer to mention that.
    – intelfx
    Jul 29, 2019 at 3:13
  • 1
    I tried this on the fstrim.timer. But for the timer it doesn't do anything. (enables it I think) When issued on fstrim.service, probably something happened. Is there no way to trigger the timer so it shows it was actually executed?
    – JPT
    Apr 10, 2020 at 12:13
  • 12
    @JPT "starting" a timer means that the timer starts ticking. Forcibly elapsing a timer is not supported in systemd. If you need this, just start the paired unit directly (in your case, fstrim.service).
    – intelfx
    Apr 12, 2020 at 3:58

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