I'm on Ubuntu 20.04, using the default desktop environment (Gnome 3, I guess?) and when I log out and back in again (or restart the computer, etc.) my open windows are gone.

How can I get Ubuntu to restore my open windows, like Mac OS does, and like other desktop environments (e. g. xfce) do on Linux?

I searched online and found this page, which says to run gnome-session-properties, and then it shows an "Options" tab with a check box that says "Automatically remember running applications when logging out."

When I run gnome-session-properties, that option does not exist:


How do I get this functionality?

  • manually with a script that then runs when restarting gnome session using wmctrl -l and doing a lot of work tidying all that up, saving it to a restore file ,periodically updating it in a loop
    – pierrely
    Oct 23, 2021 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


Your desktop session will be remembered if you turn your computer of in sleep mode or in hibernation mode rather than shutting it down. Sleep mode keeps your session into RAM and requires a minimum of continued power consumption. Hibernation stores RAM in swap space on the hard drive before fully powering off. Unfortunatelly, hibernation is not enabled by default in Ubuntu because there is quite some hardware where it does not work reliably.

In older versions of Gnome, you could save your "session". When logging in again, applications that were open when you shut down, would be launched again. Because this did not work very well, the feature is not anymore enabled in Gnome.

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