Start X at login

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Revision as of 21:23, 9 October 2012 by DSpider (talk | contribs) (rewritten. One line is better than 3, and an alias is better instead of appending "&> ~/.xlog" at the end. This way, the "~/.xlog" file is updated not just when you log in, but also in case the X session crashes or is closed, and you run 'startx'.)
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A display manager can be used to provide a login screen and start the X server. This article explains how this can be done using an existing virtual terminal.

To manually start X, startx or xinit are used. Both will execute ~/.xinitrc, which may be customized to start the window manager of choice as described in the xinitrc article.

Shell profile file

  • For Bash, add the following to the bottom of ~/.bash_profile. If the file does not exist, copy a skeleton version from /etc/skel/.bash_profile.
  • For Zsh, add the following to ~/.zprofile instead.
[[ $(fgconsole) = 1 ]] && startx -- vt1


  • This method can be combined with automatic login to virtual console.
  • If you would like to also log out when X is killed, use exec startx instead of just startx.
  • To redirect the output of the X session to a file, create an alias:
alias startx='startx &> ~/.xlog'
  • Alternatively, you can use xinit instead of startx (since startx is an extension anyway).