Revision 7 as of 2006-01-03 03:09:03

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There are two ways to get Ubuntu to load programs automatically each time you start up:

  1. Saving your session when you log off, programs will be restarted when you sign back on.
  2. Starting a program every time you sign on because this is what you always use.

Each time you logon to Ubuntu you are creating a "session." To customize your session, you have to modify the session settings.

  • Go to System > Preferences > Sessions

You now have the ability to configure how things work and how they work at startup. On my version you have three tabs: "Session Options", "Current Sessions" and "Startup Programs".

Session Options

This tab allows you to create mutliple custom sessions, each with its own settings. If you only need one setup, you can use the session named "Default"

  • "Show splash screen on login"
  • "Ask on logout" -- if checked, you will be asked each time you log out whether you want to save the current configuration.
  • "Automatically save changes to session" -- If ticked, Ubuntu will by save your session at each logout and restore the same configuration when you login again. This can have unwanted side effects like restarting the program that you cannot get out of, so consider carefully what you want to achieve.

Current Session

This tab shows the processes that are currently running.

Startup Programs

This tab allows you to specify any programs that you want to run each time you begin a session, as well as the priority or ordering of these startup programs. An example might be the network-manager applet (nm-applet), which allows easier access to wireless networks.

To add a program click the "Add" button and type in the command you would use on the command line to run the program (see below). Then set the priority by adjusting the 'Order' field. Lower numbers load first, higher numbers later.

To determine the text for the startup command, you can check the 'Basic' tab of the properties for the program's icon. As an example consider the Evolution mail client. Imagine you want to How do you easily determine this. Let's do this through the panels, my example will be evolution however other programs can be done using similar steps.

Firstly locate your program in the menu structure do not select it to run, right mouse click to get the context menu for example, using Evolution mail client as an example:

  • Click "Applications"
  • move to "Office"
  • Slide to left to "Evolution"
  • Right mouse click
  • move to "Add this launcher to panel"

This will place the evolution icon on the panel at the top of the desktop. This is very handy because it is a shortcut to finding your applications instead of that long winded menu.

Now we need to find the command line. right mouse click on the icon on the panel. You should see an option properties. Select this and you will be shown a dialogue box, the important thing is the "Command:" box, this should say something like "evolution --component=mail". You drag your mouse across this and copy it using control-c (Hold ctrl key down and hit the C key). You now have the command stored.

Now we want to add this to our startup programs.

  • Go to System > Preferences > Sessions

  • Select the "Startup Programs" tab
  • Click add
  • In the "Startup command" box, paste the command you copied with control-v (see above)
  • Click OK (You should see your new command)
  • Click Close

Test by logging on and off.

If you wish to remove the icon from your panel after you have done this you simply right click and select 'Remove from panel'.

If you no longer want the program to startup when you logon:

  • Go to System > Preferences > Sessions

  • Select the "Startup Programs" tab
  • Select the program you want to remove
  • Click delete
  • Click Close

Now you may wish to modify the way a program works at startup. This is possible through command line options, there are parts to the command line:

  • evolution --component=mail

The first part "evolution" is the command that is running.

The second part "--component=mail" is called an option. You can modify they way evolution starts up by changing this option. The real trick is to findout what the command line supports. You might try [ google] to search for these options. You can test these out on a command line:

  • Applications > Accessories > terminal

And try out variations first. Once you have it right then you can change the settings in startup.

Good luck...

Moving appliactions to a workspace on startup and other more advanced stuff

Using the way described above, all the applications start in one workspace, maximized and so on. If you wished for example to start an application in workspace 2 minimized, you would have to do it manually - unless you install devilspie! Detailed howto can be found on the forums: []


This is very handy to start [ gdesklet] every time I turn on my pc.

Original text

This is very easy to do, although very difficult to find. At least for me.

I wanted my system set up so that every time I restart Ubuntu, it would remember the applications that I had left open in the previous session. But I didn't know how to do it. So I looked for a way to initialize some applications that I have chosen at startup. After many hours of searching, I found and read this link:

And it's just so easy.

  • Go to System > Preferences > Sessions (most people will know what to do when they get here, the problem is just to get there Sad :( )

  • At the startup tab just include your program and be happy Smile :)

After this, I also discovered the option "Save sessions changes automatically", or something like that, under the first tab, "Session Options". Select it to mantain applications that you have opened in your session and changes you have made.

Very handy to [ gdesklet] so that I don't need to start every time I turn on my pc.

CategoryDocumentation CategoryCleanup