How to Display Hidden Startup Applications in ubuntu 12.04 and Above

Starting with Ubuntu 12.04 the ‘Startup Applications' manager now only displays a sub-set of applications to control at startup with the remaining applications being hidden. To make the hidden applications visible in the manager, follow these steps:

  • Open the terminal by pressing (Ctrl + Alt + t) or searching for "Terminal" in the Unity bar.

Copy and paste the following command into the terminal and press the ‘enter' key.

sudo sed -i โ€˜s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/gโ€™ /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

If asked you will also have to provide your user account password to perform the command, if asked simply enter your user password and press ‘enter' again (note: When entering your password, the terminal will not display characters on-screen, such as the asterisk ‘*', for security reasons).

  • Close the terminal and now open ‘Startup Applications' from the power menu or searching for it in the unity bar.

Hidden startup applications will now be displayed in the ‘Startup Applications' manager as slightly greyed out. You can now continue to edit which programs start upon startup, including any hidden applications.

Via Ubuntuwiki

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20 Responses

  1. ArchaicReality says:

    I tried it but didnt work. After using the command above, I received this icon (>). I typed in my password and hit enter but to no avail after closing the terminal. I also tried it w/o my password which resulted in same outcome

  2. Bulent Besim says:

    Great tip. I think the start of sed substitution needs to be changed from backtick to a single quote.


  3. Landon says:

    If it doesnt work try:

    sudo sed -i ‘s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g’ /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

  4. Stormy Weather says:

    Hi, thanks for help, but no way. Same situation of ArchaicReality.

  5. Eli says:

    Yes, i confirm it works..the correct command is :

    sudo sed -i ‘s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g’ /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

  6. Stephan Huebner says:

    As the reply to a certain comment seems to be totally broken (not working at all)…

    @ArchaicReality: The problem is that the first of the apostrophes in the command is the wrong kind. To be sure, replace it with a “regular” one and the command should work.

  7. cmcanulty says:

    on all the above I get the same error

    cmcanulty@Darcy25:~$ sudo sed -i โ€˜s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/gโ€™ /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop[sudo] password for cmcanulty:
    sed: -e expression #1, char 1: unknown command: `?’

  8. Detonate says:

    You have to replace both tick marks in the command with a regular apostrophe. This is a great tip. Thanks.

  9. Gelu says:

    this is the command:
    sudo sed -i “s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g” /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

  10. Robert says:

    sed: -e expression #1, char 1: unknown command: `?’

  11. Eric says:

    sed: -e expression #1, char 1: unknown command: `?’

    That’s what I get every time.

  12. Eric says:

    This one worked for me

    sudo sed -i ‘s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g’ /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

    The only difference was different kind of hyphens ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. James says:

    This worked for me:
    sudo sed -i “s/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g” /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

    (I replace the accent mark/apostrophe with quotation marks)

  14. stilltryin says:

    Thanks, this really helped me understand some slowdown issues.

  15. Dave says:

    None of the above worked for me. Got the same error with every command.

  16. Brett says:

    Dave says:
    January 28, 2013 at 1:21 am

    None of the above worked for me. Got the same error with every command.

    Same with me.

  17. Stray says:

    Me too..

  18. Stray says:

    Steps to add Application to the Startup:
    Just go to the Dash Home and type โ€œStartupโ€ in the Lens ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Jeff says:

    I got it to work by copy/pasting the command, then delete the single quote marks and re-type them with the keyboard. Apparently the terminal will not accept the symbol displayed on this page.

  20. Peter says:

    Yah, what Jeff said, that works. Now I wonder what is safe to remove from startup?

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