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I had a nice GUI for changing startup applications (after logging in) on GNOME 2. How can I start that application on GNOME 3?

Where can I download it? What is the package name? What command is used to launch it? I have Pidgin still launching on start, but I have converted back to Empathy, so I would like to know how I can remove Pidgin and start Empathy instead.

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up vote 47 down vote accepted

From terminal or Alt+F2 dialog run: gnome-session-properties.

For newer ( 3.14+ ) versions of Gnome just use the Tweak Tool from the applications menu.

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well no longer works in gnome 3.14 :( – Tummala Dhanvi May 25 '15 at 9:10
@TummalaDhanvi as per gnome-tweak-tool works – Andy Sep 14 '15 at 22:34
@Andy Which version of gnome are you on – Tummala Dhanvi Sep 19 '15 at 3:16
Works for me on Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 (GNOME 3.18). – Spotlight Dec 18 '15 at 21:38

None of the other solutions worked for me in Gnome 3.14 on Gnome Ubuntu 14.10. What finally worked was creating .desktop files by hand.

First, make the folder ~/.config/autostart/ if it doesnt exist.

Then create a ~/.config/autostart/my-app-to-startup.desktop file for each program you want to start on login.

For example, here's what my ~/.config/autostart/pidgin.desktop file looks like:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=instant messenging client

Credit for this solution goes to this Linux and Friends site.

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Thank you for sharing. – Leo Ufimtsev Jul 16 '15 at 18:22

As rossouwap's answer is not working any more on Gnome 3.14+ now you should type Alt + F2 then run gnome-tweak-tool on the dialog and then look for the tab Startup Applications.

I assume you have Gnome Tweak Tool installed. If not, run this on the console:
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

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Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a way specify which arguments to launch any given startup application with. Am I missing something? – Wallacoloo Aug 21 '15 at 4:16
@Wallacoloo if it is, then I didn't find it neither – joaquin Aug 21 '15 at 10:12

I had a nice GUI for changing startup applications (after logging in) on GNOME 2. How can I start that application on GNOME 3?

The answer is simple. You still have nice GUI in your system, only in Gnome 3 is set up to be hidden, don't ask me why. Here's how you bring it back:

Open a terminal and copy/paste the following code:

gksu gedit /usr/share/applications/session-properties.desktop

Look for the line that says NoDisplay=true and change it to NoDisplay=false (or delete the line altogether if you prefer).

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It seems like a lot of things in Gnome 3 are still half-baked... – John Jan 13 '14 at 18:09
Hmm - that file doesn't even exist on my distro (not ubuntu but FC19) – Danny Staple Sep 29 '14 at 13:41
That file (nor anything with a similar name to it) does not exist for me either on Arch / Gnome 3.16.3. – Wallacoloo Aug 21 '15 at 4:14
  1. To access System Settings, click the "Power" icon at the top right corner of the desktop and select "Sytem Settings". Under the "Personal" heading, click on "Startup Applications." This is the same GUI from previous versions of Ubuntu and Gnome.


  2. To remove Pidgin from your Startup Applications, click on the row that says "Pidgin" in the list. Then, click the "Remove" button on the right, which will remove the entry altogether. Alternatively, you can disable the program from starting when you log in by simply unchecking the checkbox on the far left. This would allow you to re-check the box in the future, to re-enable Pidgin as a Startup Application.


  3. To add Empathy to your Startup Applications, click the "Add" button. Choose a Name, such as "Empathy". It can be anything you like. Next to Command, type empathy. This will launch an Empathy window after you log in. If you would prefer to have Empathy start hidden in the Messaging Menu, enter the command empathy -h instead. Next to Comment, you can leave blank or you can add a descriptive comment. Then click Add.


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I dont have startup Applications there. – Riki137 May 2 '11 at 20:55
Well that a unity DE not gnome at all – Tummala Dhanvi May 25 '15 at 13:21

If you have GNOME 3.6+, you can install this extension which adds a shortcut to the system menu:

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