Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Managing Startup Applications in GNOME 3

Ubuntu 9

Managing startup applications is a crucial aspect of system administration, as it directly impacts the performance and usability of a system. In the GNOME 3 environment, there are several ways to manage these applications. This article will guide you through the different methods and provide detailed instructions.

Quick Answer

In GNOME 3, you can manage startup applications using the gnome-session-properties command, the GNOME Tweak Tool, or by manually creating .desktop files. These methods allow you to add, remove, and edit applications that run at startup, giving you control over the performance and usability of your system.

Using gnome-session-properties

In older versions of GNOME, you can use the gnome-session-properties command to manage startup applications. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the terminal or press Alt+F2 to bring up the run command dialog.
  2. Type gnome-session-properties and hit enter.

This command will open a graphical user interface (GUI) where you can add, remove, or edit startup applications. Each application has a checkbox that you can select or deselect to enable or disable it at startup.

Using GNOME Tweak Tool

For newer versions of GNOME (3.14 and above), the GNOME Tweak Tool is a more suitable option. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open the GNOME Tweak Tool from the applications menu.
  2. Navigate to the “Startup Applications” tab.

From here, you can add or remove applications that you want to run at startup. The interface is user-friendly and straightforward, making it easy to manage your startup applications.

Creating .desktop Files Manually

If the above methods do not work for your version of GNOME, or if you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can manually create .desktop files to manage your startup applications. Here’s how:

  1. First, check if the ~/.config/autostart/ directory exists. If it doesn’t, create it using the command mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart/.
  2. Next, create a .desktop file for each program you want to start on login. You can use any text editor to create these files. The file should contain the following information:
[Desktop Entry]
Name=[Name of the application]
Comment=[Comment about the application]

Replace /path/to/application with the actual path to the application, and replace [Name of the application] and [Comment about the application] with the application’s name and a brief description, respectively.

  1. Save these .desktop files in the ~/.config/autostart/ directory.

This method gives you more control over your startup applications but requires a bit more technical knowledge.


Managing startup applications in GNOME 3 can be done in several ways, each with its own advantages. Whether you prefer using a GUI or working directly with the command line, GNOME provides the tools necessary to manage your startup applications effectively. By understanding these methods, you can customize your GNOME environment to suit your needs and preferences.

Can I add multiple applications to startup in GNOME 3?

Yes, you can add multiple applications to startup in GNOME 3. In the gnome-session-properties and GNOME Tweak Tool methods, you can simply click on the "Add" button and select the applications you want to add. In the manual method, you can create multiple .desktop files, each representing a different application.

How can I remove a startup application in GNOME 3?

To remove a startup application in GNOME 3, you can use the gnome-session-properties or GNOME Tweak Tool methods by unchecking the checkbox next to the application you want to remove. In the manual method, you can delete the corresponding .desktop file from the ~/.config/autostart/ directory.

Can I change the order in which startup applications are launched in GNOME 3?

No, in GNOME 3, there is no built-in functionality to change the order of startup applications. They will be launched in the order they were added.

Do all applications support being added to startup in GNOME 3?

Most applications can be added to startup in GNOME 3. However, some applications may not have the necessary components or configuration options to support autostart. In such cases, you may need to consult the application’s documentation or support resources to determine if it can be added to startup.

Will adding many applications to startup slow down my system?

Adding too many applications to startup can potentially slow down your system, as more resources will be allocated at startup. It is recommended to only add essential applications to startup to ensure optimal performance.

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