This strikes me as a bit chaotic, but I'm new to Ubuntu. I want to have the option to restore open apps when I shut down or logout of Ubuntu 20.04. As usual, I did a search, and found two articles that said basically the same thing: "use dconf-tools for this" (HTG article, LinOxide article).

Attempting to install this tool with apt, I learn that the dconf-tools package is not available. OK - so something's there to replace it - right? "Maybe not" is the answer here; the author of that answer indicates it "never worked well"? It was also suggested that Window Session Manager was good & well-maintained... but then he also said the entire concept never worked well?! Another Q&A suggested that dconf-tools had a replacement in dconf-cli - except that was for use as a dependency in another package, so...?

Also - quick search through the Ubuntu Software app shows there is an app called Dconf Editor, but its description is so terse as to be useless.

Since I've not seen anything for 20.04, I thought it was worth asking the question again: How to restore open windows and apps from my last session? Or, what has replaced dconf-tools?


2 Answers 2


The package dconf-tools was most recently a transitional package which had the dependencies dconf-cli and dconf-editor so all you have to do is install those two packages:

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt update
sudo apt install dconf-cli dconf-editor

as dconf-editor is the one referred to in the HTG article.

Additionally, it's provided by the Universe repository which is supposed to be enabled by default but just in case I added an extra command to ensure this.

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. I'd like to try this, but given its history I'm not sure it's as reliable as I'd like. Can you tell me if you use this on your system & if so, does it seem reliable to you?
    – Seamus
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 22:46
  • Yes, it's reliable as a replacement for dconf-tools and I use it but I don't use it for session saving. I can say that the author of the HTG article called for installing dconf-tools as a means to install dconf-editor. Also, it depends on what you use it for. The reliability answer you referenced talks about the hibernation feature and I'm pretty sure this session saving feature is different (I'm guessing more like session saving used on XFCE4 desktop) and they dropped support in 2011 (old Gnome desktop) and the HTG article was written in 2014 for Gnome Shell.
    – mchid
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 13:07

There's no org.gnome.gnome-session config option anymore.You have to install the extension Window Session Manager.

An indicator that let's you save and restore your open apps and the window positions and arrangements over multiple real and virtual displays. Requires lwsm and nodejs to be installed (npm install -g linux-window-session-manager).

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