How To Make Desktop Applications Start Automatically After Login (GNOME)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

You probably know this: you power on your machine, and immediately after you've logged in you manually start your two or three favourite applications. Why not have the system start these applications for you automatically? This short guide shows how to accomplish this under GNOME.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

For demonstration purposes I will show how to make Pidgin (instant messenger) and Skype start automatically after the login. You probably have other applications such as Evolution or Thunderbird that you'd like to start - it works exactly the same way as shown here.


2 Using The Session Manager To Make Applications Start Automatically

Open the Sessions Manager (System > Preferences > Sessions):

On the first tab you see a list of applications that are already started automatically when your desktop session starts. To add an application, click on the Add button:

A new window opens. Fill in the name of the application as you'd like it to appear in the list on the first tab of the Sessions Manager (e.g. Pidgin). Then click on the Browse... button right of the Command field:

A file browser opens. Most applications are located in the /usr/bin directory, so we go there and search for our application (pidgin in this example). Mark it and click on Open:

We now have the right command in the Command field. If you like you can add a comment, although that's optional. Click on OK afterwards:

Now you can do the same again for another application, e.g. Skype:

Afterwards, you should find your applications in the list on the first tab. You can now close the Sessions Manager:

Now log out of your current desktop session and then log back in. Your favourite applications should now start automatically:

Have fun!

Share this page:

Suggested articles

4 Comment(s)

Add comment



Once again, Prof Falko supplies useful&idiot-proof [for me] instructions.
Just last week,i was blundering about in LinuxMint in the correct vicinity  to execute this cmd& he has provided the last pieces of the puzzle.
This old mechanic&ex- TRS80 owner
 Thanks You,Sir.

By: Squirrel

Silly question, but your background picture is amazing.

Where can I find it?

I want it :-)



By: Luis Guerrero

Thank You Very Much for the precise instructions for starting Skype automatically after the login.

After some 20 Windows-years, getting to use a different system is not easy, and your instructions helped me to work more effectively (we use Skype as communications means with some providers, and I kept forgetting starting it ...)

Best Regards / Vielen Danke

Luis Guerrero

PS:  knowing where to find the Desktop image you show in your example wouldn't hurt; better yet, knowing where it was taken would help vacation planning ...




Thanks Falko, this was very helpful. Any idea about which file these changes are stored in?