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How To Enable Auto-Login in LightDM for Ubuntu

Ubuntu 17

In this article, we will discuss how to enable auto-login in LightDM for Ubuntu. LightDM is a cross-desktop display manager whose aim is to be the standard display manager for the X server. One of its main features is the ability to enable auto-login, which can be quite useful for users who do not want to enter their password every time they start their system.

Quick Answer

To enable auto-login in LightDM for Ubuntu, you can edit the /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf file, use the "User Accounts" application in System Settings, create a configuration file in /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/, or use the lightdm-set-defaults command.

What is Auto-Login?

Auto-login allows a user to be automatically logged into a user account without requiring to enter a password during system startup. This can be beneficial for users who are the sole users of their systems and want to save time during startup. However, it’s important to note that this might pose a security risk if unauthorized users gain access to the system.

Methods to Enable Auto-Login

There are several methods to enable auto-login in LightDM for Ubuntu. We will cover the most common ones.

Method 1: Editing the /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf File

One way to enable auto-login is by editing the lightdm.conf file. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Terminal application. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard.
  2. Type the following command to open the lightdm.conf file in a text editor with root privileges:
sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
  1. Add the following lines to the file:
[SeatDefaults]
autologin-user=foo
autologin-user-timeout=0

In the above code, foo should be replaced with your username. autologin-user specifies the user to auto-login, and autologin-user-timeout specifies the delay before the auto-login occurs.

  1. Save the file and exit. In nano, you can do this by pressing Ctrl+X, then Y to confirm saving changes, and finally Enter to confirm the file name.
  2. Restart your system. Auto-login should now be enabled for your user.

Method 2: Using the “User Accounts” Application

Another method to enable auto-login is through the “User Accounts” application. Here’s how:

  1. Go to System Settings and select “User Accounts”.
  2. Click the “Unlock” button and enter your password.
  3. Select your user and toggle the “Automatic Login” switch to “On”.
  4. Close the application. The changes will take effect upon the next login.

Method 3: Creating a Configuration File in /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/

You can also enable auto-login by creating a configuration file in the lightdm.conf.d/ directory. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Terminal application.
  2. Type the following command to create a new file in a text editor:
sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/12-autologin.conf
  1. Add the following lines to the file:
[SeatDefaults]
autologin-user=foo

Replace foo with your username.

  1. Save the file and exit.
  2. Restart your system. Auto-login should now be enabled for your user.

Method 4: Using the lightdm-set-defaults Command

The lightdm-set-defaults command can also be used to enable auto-login. However, this command is not available in Ubuntu 14.04 and later. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open the Terminal application.
  2. Type the following command:
sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults --autologin foo

Replace foo with your username.

  1. Restart your system. Auto-login should now be enabled for your user.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed several methods to enable auto-login in LightDM for Ubuntu. Please note that if you are using home folder encryption, auto-login may not be possible. Additionally, alternative options like nodm can be used to start an X session for a user on boot with no authentication, but it may have limitations such as the lock screen not functioning properly. Always remember that while auto-login can be convenient, it can also pose a security risk if unauthorized users gain access to your system.

Is auto-login available for all versions of Ubuntu?

Auto-login is available for most versions of Ubuntu, but it may not be possible if you are using home folder encryption.

Can I enable auto-login for multiple user accounts?

Yes, you can enable auto-login for multiple user accounts by following the same methods mentioned in the article for each user.

Is auto-login secure?

Auto-login can pose a security risk if unauthorized users gain access to your system. It is recommended to use auto-login only on personal systems where security is not a major concern.

Can I set a delay before auto-login occurs?

Yes, you can set a delay before auto-login occurs by specifying the value for autologin-user-timeout in the lightdm.conf file or the configuration file in the lightdm.conf.d/ directory.

How can I disable auto-login?

To disable auto-login, you can either remove the lines related to auto-login from the lightdm.conf file or the configuration file in the lightdm.conf.d/ directory, or toggle the "Automatic Login" switch to "Off" in the "User Accounts" application.

Can I enable auto-login for the guest account?

Auto-login is not available for the guest account in LightDM. The guest account is designed to require authentication for security reasons.

Is auto-login available in other display managers?

Auto-login is a feature specific to LightDM. Other display managers may have their own methods to enable auto-login, but the steps mentioned in this article are applicable only to LightDM.

Can I use the `lightdm-set-defaults` command in all versions of Ubuntu?

The lightdm-set-defaults command is not available in Ubuntu 14.04 and later versions. It can be used in earlier versions to enable auto-login.

Will enabling auto-login affect the lock screen functionality?

Enabling auto-login may affect the lock screen functionality. In some cases, the lock screen may not function properly when auto-login is enabled.

Can I enable auto-login for a specific session or desktop environment?

Yes, you can enable auto-login for a specific session or desktop environment by specifying the session name or desktop environment in the lightdm.conf file or the configuration file in the lightdm.conf.d/ directory.

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