Startup applications are those applications that are configured to launch automatically when you boot your system. You can add your favorite and commonly used programs to the startup list so that they launch automatically when the system boots. It is often convenient as it saves time and effort of daily launching the everyday use programs. It also comes helpful when you forget to run an important backup or an antivirus program.

On the other hand, startup applications also affect the responsiveness of your computer when it boots. A few programs might not affect the system as much but if several programs are trying to start at once, the system will take longer to boot. Therefore, you need to decide which applications to run when the system starts and which applications to remove from the startup so that they do not affect the system boot time.

In this article, we will explain how to manage startup applications in the Ubuntu system. This article will cover the following topics:

  • Adding programs to startup applications
  • Delaying the startup applications
  • Preventing applications from running at startup

We have tested and performed the procedure on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. However, the same procedure can be performed in previous versions of Ubuntu.

Adding Programs to Startup Applications

There are certain applications that you want to start automatically on system startup. Add those applications to the list of startup programs in your systems so that you do not have to remember to start them every day.

For instance, you want Google Drive to run automatically on the system startup so that it starts syncing new and updated files to Google Drive. Similarly, if you use the Skype application daily, you can add it to the startup application list.

Step 1: Launch Startup Applications

In order to run an application on startup, open Startup Applications on your system. It is a program that manages the specific applications to start every time the system boots up. Hit the super key on your keyboard, type startup and hit Enter. From the search results, click the Startup Applications icon as shown in the following screenshot.

Startup applications

When it will open, you will see the following window. Here you will find all the startup applications already added to your system.

Application preferences

Step 2: Finding Commands for Applications

In order to add any application to the startup applications list, you will need to find the command that runs that application. It can be simply a program name or a path of the installed program. For instance, in case you want to run the Rhythmbox application at system startup, you can simply use the “rythmbox” as the command name, but in the case of Firefox, you will need to use its full path.

In order to find the full path of the program, simply use the “which” command followed by the program name. For instance to find the full path of Firefox application, type the following command in the Terminal:

$ which firefox

From the following screenshot, you can see that the /usr/bin/firefox is the full path of the Firefox application and can be used as the command name in the Startup Applications.

Find application path using the which command

Step 3: Add programs to Startup Applications

Once you find the command for the program, you need to add it to the Startup Applications. In the Startup Applications window, click the Add button.

Add programs to Startup Applications

When the following window appears, add the following information:

  • Name: Type any user-friendly name for the program.
  • Command: Type the command that executes this program. As discussed in the previous step, it can be a name or the path of the program. However, if you are not sure that if just the name of the program will work or not, simply type the full path of the program. In case of Firefox application, type /usr/bin/firefox.
  • Comment: Type any relevant description or you can mention why this program has been added to Startup Applications.

Once done, click the Add button.

Add Startup Program

Now you will see the program added to the startup applications list. Similarly, you can add any program to your startup applications list. Once done, click the Close button.

New app added successfully

Delay the Startup Applications

Sometimes, the list of startup applications goes long but you cannot afford to remove them as they all need to be automatically started when the system boots. Startup Applications allow you to set a delay time for applications. With the help of it, you can set a specific delay time for some applications so that not all the applications start at the same time.

In order to set the delay time for a specific program, select the program, and click the Edit button.

Delay the Startup Applications

Edit the command field by adding sleep XX; before the command, where xx is the amount of time delay in seconds. For instance, to start the Firefox program at the system boot with a delay of 1 minute (60 seconds), the command would be:

sleep 60;/usr/bin/firefox

Add a delay before app gets started

Then click the Save button.

Preventing Programs From Running at Startup

There are some programs that were added automatically but you no longer need them at startup. It is recommended to remove such programs from the Startup Applications list as they only affect the system start up time.

In order to remove a program from the Startup Applications, launch the Startup Applications as described earlier in this article. Select the program that you want to remove from the startup applications list and click the Remove button.

For instance, to prevent the Firefox program to start at the system boot, uncheck the corresponding checkbox or you can also remove it permanently from the list by clicking the Remove button.

Disable startup app

That is all there is to it! In this article, you have learned how to manage startup applications in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Startup programs make your work easier by allowing you to automatically start certain programs at system boot. However, too much programs can also slow down the system boot time. Therefore, it is recommended to regularly check which programs are automatically adding to your system and if they are unnecessary, remove them from startup applications.

How to Manage Startup Applications in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
Avatar

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.