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I have installed RabbitMQ on Ubuntu, but I want to only start it when needed manually, not have it load automatically upon boot.

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Did you use the Ubuntu installer from here? – Michael Dillon Jul 10 '12 at 22:09
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Use update-rc.d:

update-rc.d -f rabbitmq-server remove
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With Ubuntu 15.10 (using systemd), I used systemctl:

sudo systemctl disable rabbitmq-server
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