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Auto-starting Applications

Enabling Programs to Start Automatically in Ubuntu

Sometimes, you have have scripts or applications that you want to start every time you logon. In Linux, there are ways of getting the system to do this for you automatically and in Ubuntu, there is a way to do this via the GUI – just select:

System → Preferences → Startup Applications

Startup Applications

If you are using Ubuntu 11.04 or above, the "Startup Applications" can be accessed by right-clicking the "Power" icon (Power Icon) and choosing "System Settings":

System Settings / Control Panel

From the window that opens, choose "Startup Applications":

Startup Applications Option


Enabling Programs to Start Automatically in Fedora

In Fedora, the same dialogue box can be opened, but (-as is usual with Fedora) in order to get there you need to use the command line. At the terminal prompt, simply type in the following:

$ gnome-session-properties &

This will then directly open up the "Startup Applications Preferences" dialogue:

Startup Applications Dialogue in Fedora


Adding Startup Programs in Ubuntu or Fedora

Once the "Startup Applications Preferences" is displayed, the procedure is identical in both Fedora and Ubuntu (-and probably for any other distros using the Gnome desktop). To specify a new application that you wish to be auto-started at logon time – click on the “Add” button:

Add Startup Application

This will bring up a new dialogue box, where the following needs to be entered:

  • Type in a meaningful name in the “Name” field (-it can be anything, but we recommend it's something that is meaningful to you when you come to review your startup applications)

  • Click on the “Browse” button to navigate to the application you want to start(clue: Linux applications tend to sit under the /usr/bin directory). If you know how to invoke the program from the command line, then you can simply type the command in without browsing for it, in the "Command" field

  • Finally, add a description of what the program is/why you are adding it in the “Comment“ field

Add Startup Application

In the example above, we are configuring Ubuntu to start a chat client upon startup (-as the author often forgets to do it). When all looks good, click on the “Add” button to add your new application to the start up list.

If all went well, you should be able to see your new application in the startup list, similar to the example below:

Application Added to the Startup List

Click on the “Close” button to the save changes and exit the dialogue.


Stopping Programs from Starting Automatically in Ubuntu or Fedora

To remove an application from the list of those to automatically start is just a matter of locating it in the startup list and clicking the “Remove” button. First, display the startup applications as directed in the Ubuntu or Fedora section. In the dialogue box that displays, scroll down the list of Applications and highlight the one you wish to remove:

Remove Button

Click on the “Remove” button to remove it from the startup list.

Click on the “Close” button to the save changes and exit the dialogue.


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