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By default, a cell runs as a daemon. You override this behavior with a command line option, not a configuration file parameter.

Before you begin

A cell can be installed as owned by any user. Only users with run permission on the mcell binary can start the cell. All users with run permission on the mkill or mcontrol CLIs can stop the cell. However, if a user without root permissions attempts to start the process, the following issues must be considered:

  • External actions run as the user ID that started the process. Those actions are defined in installationDirectory\pw\server\etc\cellName\kb\bin on Windows platforms and in $installationDirectory/pw/server/etc/cellName/kb/bin on UNIX and Linux platforms.

    Actions are defined in .mrl files located in the kb/bin directory and listed in .load in that directory. The action programs or scripts can be located in the kb/bin/A or kb/bin/Arch directory. They can also be located anywhere else on the system. 
  • The user who starts the cell must be able to write to log and trace files in the directories specified through configuration parameters SystemLogDirName, SystemTmpDirName, and SystemVarDirName. Default values for these are the log and tmp subdirectories of installationDirectory/pw/server.

To stop a cell on UNIX computers

Enter the following command from a command line:

mkill -n cellName

If no cell name is provided, mkill attempts to stop a local cell whose name is the same as the local host name. For more information about the mkill command, see mkill.

To start a cell on UNIX computers

Enter the following command from a command line:

mcell -n cellName

It is possible to start a cell without specifying a cell name. If you start a cell without any options, the command attempts to start a cell with the same name as the host. You must set the installationDirectory/pw/server environment variable to point to the directory in which the cell is installed. The home directory also can be indicated using the option -l followed by the path to the home directory, instead of defining it in the environment. To learn more about using the mcell command, see mcell.


You can change all configurable cell parameters by making changes in the configuration file, mcell.conf. When you start the cell, the cell looks for the configuration file in the default location, installationDirectory\pw\server\etccellName\mcell.conf. Use the -c option with the mcell command to have the cell look for the configuration file in a specified location.