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I would like to have transmission-daemon and vnstat automatically run at startup. I was able to configure this for apache2 and proftpd with exactly the same commands.

  795  sudo update-rc.d transmission-daemon remove
  797  sudo update-rc.d -f transmission-daemon remove
  798  sudo update-rc.d transmission-daemon defaults
  799  sudo update-rc.d vnstat remove
  800  sudo update-rc.d -f vnstat remove
  801  sudo update-rc.d -f vnstat defaults
  802  sudo update-rc.d -f vnstat enable
  805  reboot
  807  history
root@htpc:/home/administrator# sudo update-rc.d -f transmission-daemon remove
 Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon ...
   /etc/rc0.d/K20transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc1.d/K20transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc2.d/S20transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc3.d/S20transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc4.d/S20transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc5.d/S20transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc6.d/K20transmission-daemon
root@htpc:/home/administrator# sudo update-rc.d -f transmission-daemon defaults
 Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon ...
   /etc/rc0.d/K20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc1.d/K20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc6.d/K20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc2.d/S20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc3.d/S20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc4.d/S20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
   /etc/rc5.d/S20transmission-daemon -> ../init.d/transmission-daemon
root@htpc:/home/administrator# service vnstat status
 * vnStat daemon is not running
root@htpc:/home/administrator# service transmission-daemon status
 * transmission-daemon is not running
root@htpc:/home/administrator# service transmission-daemon start
 * Starting bittorrent daemon transmission-daemon                        [ OK ]
root@htpc:/home/administrator# service vnstat start
 * Starting vnStat daemon vnstatd                                        [ OK ]
root@htpc:/home/administrator# service apache2 status
Apache2 is running (pid 1137).
root@htpc:/home/administrator#
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you are using update-rc.d correctly. It sets the service to start on runlevel change. It does not actually start the service. Are you expecting it to? –  Jay _silly_evarlast_ Wren Oct 16 '13 at 14:31

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