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Autostart programs in Ubuntu

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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My name is Stefan, I'm the admin of LinuxScrew. I am a full-time Linux/Unix sysadmin, a hobby Python programmer, and a part-time blogger. I post useful guides, tips, and tutorials on common Linux and Programming issues. Feel free to reach out in the comment section.

9 thoughts on “Autostart programs in Ubuntu”

  1. 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 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. neal

    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

  5. 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!)

  6. 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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