Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Control Startup Programs in KDE

Ubuntu 9

In a KDE environment, controlling the programs that run at startup can help optimize the system’s performance and customize the user experience. This article will guide you through the process of managing startup programs in KDE.

Quick Answer

To control startup programs in KDE, you can access the system settings by clicking on the "K" menu and selecting "System Settings". From there, navigate to the "Startup and Shutdown" settings and click on "Autostart" to manage the programs that start up with your system. You can enable or disable applications by checking or unchecking the box next to them. Additionally, you can disable systemwide autostart scripts by copying the corresponding .desktop file from /usr/share/autostart/ to ~/.config/autostart/ and adding the line Hidden=true to disable it.

Understanding Startup Programs

Startup programs are applications that are set to launch automatically when you boot up your system. While some of these are essential for the smooth running of your system, others might be unnecessary and can slow down your boot time. Controlling these programs gives you the power to decide what runs on your system and when.

Accessing System Settings

Firstly, you need to access the system settings. This is where you can manage all aspects of your KDE environment, including startup programs.

  1. Click on the “K” menu (also known as Application Launcher).
  2. Select “System Settings”.

Navigating to Startup and Shutdown Settings

Once you’re in the System Settings window, you need to navigate to the startup and shutdown settings.

  1. Look for the “Startup and Shutdown” option in the system settings.
  2. Click on it to open the settings.

Working with Autostart

In the Startup and Shutdown settings, you’ll find an option called “Autostart”. This is where you can manage the programs that start up with your system.

  1. Click on “Autostart”.
  2. You will now see a list of applications that are set to run at startup.

Here, you can enable or disable any application by checking or unchecking the box next to it. Unchecked applications will not run at startup.

Disabling Systemwide Autostart Scripts

If the applications you want to disable are not listed in the Autostart section, they might be being started from other locations. Here’s how you can disable them:

  1. Systemwide autostart scripts provided by your distribution packages or created by GNOME apps are usually located in the /usr/share/autostart/ directory.
  2. To disable these, you need to copy the corresponding .desktop file from /usr/share/autostart/ to ~/.config/autostart/.
  3. Open the copied .desktop file and add the line Hidden=true to disable it.

In this command, Hidden=true is a parameter that instructs the system to hide or disable the application at startup.

Controlling Startup Programs Individually

Some programs, like Skype, have their own settings that control whether they start at boot or not. To manage these:

  1. Open the specific program.
  2. Navigate to its settings or options. In Skype, for example, you would go to “Options” > “General”.
  3. Look for an option that controls startup behavior. In Skype, you would uncheck the “Start Skype Minimised in system tray” option.

Managing Autostart Scripts in KDE 5.x or Later

If you are using KDE 5.x or later, the autostart files are located in ~/.config/autostart/. You can also put your own scripts in ~/.config/autostart-scripts/.

By placing your scripts in these directories, you can have them run at startup, giving you even more control over your system’s behavior.


Controlling startup programs in KDE allows you to optimize your system for performance and customize it to suit your needs. By understanding where these settings are and how to manage them, you can take full control of your KDE environment. Remember, the specific locations and methods may vary depending on your distribution and version of KDE, so it’s always a good idea to refer to the documentation specific to your distribution for the most accurate instructions.

Can I completely disable all startup programs in KDE?

Yes, you can disable all startup programs by unchecking all the applications listed in the Autostart section of the Startup and Shutdown settings.

How can I add a program to startup in KDE?

To add a program to startup, you can create a .desktop file in the ~/.config/autostart/ directory. The .desktop file should contain the necessary information about the program, such as the executable path and any additional options.

Can I control the order in which startup programs run?

Unfortunately, KDE does not provide a built-in feature to control the order of startup programs. The programs generally start in the order they are listed in the Autostart section.

Will disabling startup programs affect the functionality of my system?

Disabling unnecessary startup programs will not affect the basic functionality of your system. However, it may improve boot time and overall system performance by reducing the number of processes running at startup.

How can I identify which startup programs are essential and which are not?

Identifying essential startup programs can be subjective and depend on your specific needs. However, programs related to system services or security should generally be considered essential. Non-essential programs are typically ones that you can manually launch when needed.

Can I disable systemwide autostart scripts without copying them to the user directory?

No, to disable systemwide autostart scripts, you need to copy them to the ~/.config/autostart/ directory and add the Hidden=true line to the copied .desktop file.

How can I revert changes and enable a previously disabled startup program?

To enable a previously disabled startup program, simply go back to the Autostart section in the Startup and Shutdown settings and check the box next to the program you want to enable.

Are there any alternative ways to manage startup programs in KDE?

Yes, there are alternative ways to manage startup programs in KDE. You can use third-party tools or utilities that provide more advanced features for controlling startup programs, such as managing the startup order or grouping programs into categories. These tools can be found in KDE’s official software repositories or third-party software sources.

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