Run A Program On Startup (Console On Ubuntu 18.04)

As an alternative to using the GUI startup configuration tool or rc.local, you can use the crontab -e command to add a program to the cron job scheduler, so that it will launch it at startup, even if there is no GUI installed (useful for Ubuntu servers).

First, type:

crontab -e

Afterwards, it may ask you the following. Select the number that corresponds to your preferred text editor:

no crontab for username - using an empty one

Select an editor.  To change later, run 'select-editor'.
  1. /bin/nano        <---- easiest
  2. /usr/bin/vim.basic
  3. /usr/bin/vim.tiny
  4. /bin/ed

Choose 1-4 [1]: 1

I selected Nano, as that is my preferred text editor. You may see something like:

# Edit this file to introduce tasks to be run by cron.
#
# Each task to run has to be defined through a single line
# indicating with different fields when the task will be run
# and what command to run for the task
#
# To define the time you can provide concrete values for
# minute (m), hour (h), day of month (dom), month (mon),
# and day of week (dow) or use '*' in these fields (for 'any').#
# Notice that tasks will be started based on the cron's system
# daemon's notion of time and timezones.
#
# Output of the crontab jobs (including errors) is sent through
# email to the user the crontab file belongs to (unless redirected).
#
# For example, you can run a backup of all your user accounts
# at 5 a.m every week with:
# 0 5 * * 1 tar -zcf /var/backups/home.tgz /home/
#
# For more information see the manual pages of crontab(5) and cron(8)
#
# m h dom mon dow command

Next, scroll to the bottom of the file and add the following line. All you really have to remember here is  ‘@reboot’.

@reboot /path/executable

Press Ctrl + O to save if using Nano, and then Ctrl + X to exit. That’s it!

Next: How To Stop Programs From Running On Startup In Ubuntu

Learn about other Ubuntu commands

What To Do If Ubuntu Can’t Write To Your Windows Partition

Recovering Ubuntu After A Windows Update