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root@user-desktop:/etc# sudo /usr/sbin/service vsftpd restart    
restart: Unknown instance:
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Why running sudo as root? – Braiam Sep 26 '13 at 14:33
up vote 10 down vote accepted

A typical restart job will attempt to kill an old instance first. What is happening here is that there isn't an old copy to kill.

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Try this sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart

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This isn't any more useful than using the full path to the 'service' script. – Thomas Ward Dec 1 '15 at 15:41

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