Ubuntu newbies sometimes ask how to add certain program into startup or autostart. Actually it usually happens with ex-Windows users 😉

Answer: To make program start just after user logins Gnome, go to “System” menu, then choose “Preferences” and select “Sessions”:

gnome sessions

Then press button “Add”, type application name, command to start it (it’s location like /usr/sbin/local/liferea), and press “Ok” and then “Close”. After next login to Gnome application will start. It works with any Linux distro running Gnome as Desktop manager.

Update: Recent versions of Ubuntu has menu item “System –> Preferences –> Startup Applications” instead of “Sessions” and allow to drag items from main menu to autostart. Feel free look through Ubuntuka’s post “Add programs to autostart in Ubuntu” for more screenshots.

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  1. April 4, 2008  7:54 am by Gustav Bodenäs Reply

    Thanks, really helped :)

  2. April 17, 2008  6:12 pm by knicksdefense Reply

    I got all the way to the last step, but how do you find out the location of the program?

    i know it was only an example, but I can't find it in /usr/sbin/...

  3. April 17, 2008  6:46 pm by knicksdefense Reply

    i should say, how do you find out the location of klipper in gnome?

  4. August 1, 2008  12:30 am by Ben Reply

    I am a Ubuntu newbie, but I figured out a way to find the location of a program:

    I go to Applications and right click the app and select "add launcher to desktop"

    then I right click on the icon on the desktop and select properties.

    Then I click the Launcher tab which gives the location.

    There is probably an easier way, but I haven't learned it yet :)

  5. September 14, 2008  3:02 pm by Stephan Reply

    Hi there Ben, I have been trying to do this for a long time now and from one newbie to another, it worked for me too. Looks like it is true what they say, great newbies think a like!

  6. September 14, 2008  11:51 pm by NimajNeb Reply

    Hello people ! Just wanted to say you can find the path of a program by using the command "which" followed by the name of the app, all this within the terminal. Example:

    which klipper

    Good luck to all.

  7. January 6, 2009  11:23 pm by lucio garcia Reply

    i want to know, how i can install programs by my self.

    be cause i erease many thinks of my upc. i will preciate your help

  8. January 14, 2009  7:25 pm by ekim suflax Reply

    thanks very much, still would be nice to have an easy way to find actual program executable.

  9. February 22, 2009  6:38 am by neal Reply

    Hi, thanks for the info... but I am stuck a little.

    I want to start a java program at startup, ted.jar Now it has to be opened in sun java runtime. I have it set so it will start when clicked on, I added it to sessions, but it isnt starting up. Do I need to add a switch? like ted.jar -java? and how do I do that in sessions?

  10. March 25, 2009  3:59 pm by Jane Baker Reply

    Thanks a lot! Works on Fedora 10 too.

  11. March 31, 2009  6:57 am by saskboy Reply

    Thanks, great instructions for Ubuntu 8.10.

    Ex-Windows user couldn't find "Startup" folder ;-)

  12. April 10, 2009  12:52 am by Gleen Globes Reply


    To add a java program add whole command in command field of Add eg. "java -jar ted.jar"

    *Don't add "s = just add everything in side "s

  13. September 14, 2009  4:24 am by Rob Reply

    I'm on 9.04 and I don't see a "sessions" option on the Preferences menu.

  14. September 27, 2009  4:38 am by XERO Reply

    Thanx for the tip. Oh yeah and thanx for making me feel like crap for starting my computer knowledge with Windows. Not everyone can know it all. Good thing we got you to tell us how ignorant we are.

  15. January 2, 2010  8:22 pm by bob Reply

    I’m on 9.04 and I don’t see a “sessions” option on the Preferences menu. ------ my 9.04 had startup applications on the prefernce menu.

  16. January 20, 2010  7:04 am by Peter H Reply

    I'm using Ubuntu 9.10 and wish to have some programs not autostart but I cannot seem to stop them without uninstalling the program. When I reinstall the program (eg Skype which I wish to use) it resumes autostarting (which Skype is doing twice!)

  17. June 25, 2010  7:19 am by ubuntuka Reply

    Hey, in latest versions of Ubuntu "Sessions" menu item was renamed to "Startup Applications"!

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  19. February 4, 2011  7:47 am by chickenhawk Reply

    Thanks heaps for all the help only difference, i didnt have a sessions tabs under System>preferences> it was "startup applications" ? seemed to do what i needed anyway

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