To check your current and previous runlevel use runlevel command:
# runlevel 
N 2
From the above command output we can see that there was no previous runlevel detected and current run level is 2. Runlevel list defined by the Ubuntu Linux:
  • 1 - Single
  • 2,3,4,5 - User defined runlevels. Default 2
  • 6 - Reboot
To temporarily change the runlevel on your Ubuntu Linux system use telinit or directly invoke init command. The following linux command will change runlevel to 1:
# init 1
OR
# telinit 1

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To permanently change your runlevel on Ubuntu Linux edit the following line within /etc/init/rc-sysinit.conf:
env DEFAULT_RUNLEVEL=2
Another alternative on how to change a default runlevel on Ubuntu Linux is to edit Grub's default startup sequence. Locate /etc/default/grub file and edit line:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""
To include your desired runlevel. For example to change default runlevel to 5 edit the above line to desired runlevel. For example to change to runlevel 5 insert:
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="5"
and run Grub update command with administrative privileges:
# update-grub
After reboot the system will now boot to runlevel 5.
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