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How to autostart programs on KDE Plasma 5

Need to autostart programs on KDE Plasma 5 when you log in? There are multiple ways to successfully launch programs automatically when you log into the Plasma 5 desktop environment. In this guide, we’ll talk about all the ways to do it.

Autostart programs from GUI

KDE Plasma 5 has an excellent GUI tool that users can use to configure applications for automatic startup during login. To access this tool, you’ll need to make your way to the system settings area of Plasma.

Accessing the system settings area starts by pressing Win on the keyboard and typing “System Settings.” Then, in the search results, click on the app result that says “Configuration tools for your computer.”

With the system settings area open, look through the list on the left for “Workspace.” In this area, sort through and click on the “Startup and Shutdown” option.

Once in the “Startup and Shutdown” section of “Workspace” in the System Settings app, find “Autostart” and select it with the mouse to access its settings.

To configure a program to launch during KDE Plasma 5’s login automatically, click on the “Add Program” button with the mouse. From there, look through the application categories for the program you’d like to autostart, and click “OK” to add it as a startup entry. Repeat the process as many times as needed to ensure all of your programs automatically open during login.

Done adding programs to the automatic startup for KDE Plasma 5? Finish up the process by closing the app. It will automatically apply the changes made.

Starting up Bash scripts automatically with the GUI

One excellent feature that KDE Plasma 5 has above other Linux desktop environments is that the Autostart GUI tool lets users automatically run Bash scripts during login.

To do this, make your way to the “Autostart” section of System Settings ( System Settings > Workspace > Startup and Shutdown  > Autostart). Then, in the Autostart section, find the “Add Script” button and click on it with the mouse.

After clicking on the “Add Script” button, a GUI window will appear. In this window, add the exact location of the Bash script so that KDE Plasma will launch it correctly.

Note: only uncheck the “Create as symlink” button if you know what a symlink is. Otherwise, leave the box checked.

Once the path to the Bash script is loaded into the GUI window, click the “OK” button to add it as a startup entry. Repeat this process as many times as desired to launch all of your scripts at startup.

When done adding Bash script startup entries, close the Autostart window. All changes will automatically go into effect.

Removing program/script from autostart with GUI

Sick of programs or scripts automatically starting? Decide you don’t want anything running the minute you log in? Here’s what to do. Make your way to the Autostart section in System Settings ( System Settings > Workspace > Startup and Shutdown  > Autostart).

In the Autostart area, look through the list of startup programs and scripts. Make your way to the entry you wish to prevent from loading up and select it with the mouse. After that, click the “Remove” button to disable it.

When all entries are removed, close the Autostart window. Changes should automatically go into effect.

Autostart programs via Terminal

Using the GUI isn’t the only way you can configure KDE Plasma 5 to load up programs automatically at login. If you dislike the GUI route, it’s possible to set automatic startup through the command-line.

To set up automatic startup through the terminal on KDE Plasma 5, you must first move the command-line session from the home folder (~) to /usr/share/applications/, as this is where Linux keeps all program shortcuts.

cd /usr/share/applications/

Using the ls command, list all of the items in the /usr/share/applications directory.


Or, if you’re having trouble sorting through the huge list of shortcut files, try:

ls | grep 'programname'

After you’ve found the name of the program, take it and plug it into the CP command below to create a new startup entry.

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart/
cp programname.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

Update the file’s permissions to ensure that KDE will handle the app shortcut correctly.

sudo chmod +x ~/.config/autostart/programname.desktop

Repeat this process as many times as you’d like to create startup entries for KDE via the command-line.

Removing automatic program start in the terminal

To remove an automatic startup entry from KDE Plasma in the command-line, you must move the terminal session from the home directory (~) to the ~/.config/autostart/ folder.

cd ~/.config/autostart

Inside the folder, run the ls command to view the items in the folder.


Take a look at the contents of this directory, and plug in the name of the apps you’d like to delete into the rm command below.

rm programname.desktop

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