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The specific programs that I needed to disable were nginx and postgresql.

I have tried the flagship post for this question, which suggests I create a manual override file for upstart, and it does not work for me. Why?

However, the approach described here, using update-rc.d, does work for me.

I read that systemctl is the suggested approach going forward, but that tool does not exist on my version.

  • systemd for systemctl was introduced in ubuntu 15.04. 14.04 didn't have it yet and used initctl or service. – Ziazis Jun 27 '16 at 8:39
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Typically those services are started in any of these folders : /etc/init , /etc/init.d , or /etc/rc.2.d , or /etc/rcS .

Find the file corresponding to the service, and rename it or move to another directory where it won't run.

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