Enable Automatic Login in Ubuntu 9.10 Server

Ubuntu makes it easy to enable automatic login if you’re using a login manager such as GDM. I was recently setting up a minimal Ubuntu 9.10 system with an LXDE desktop and no GDM. Here’s how I enabled automatic login.

Note: This was tested on Ubuntu 9.10. Previous versions of Ubuntu require different procedures because of changes to the way Ubuntu boots.

Open /etc/init/tty1.conf as root:

sudo nano /etc/init/tty1.conf

Change the last line of this file to (where USERNAME is the username of the user you want to log in):

exec /bin/login -f USERNAME < /dev/tty1 > /dev/tty1 2>&1

Reboot, and the user you chose should be logged in automatically after boot. If something goes wrong, you can switch to a different TTY with CTRL+ALT+F2 and log in normally.

If you want this user to be logged into a graphical environment instead of just a shell, there’s more work to be done. Open your user’s .bashrc file:

nano ~/.bashrc

Add the following to the end of the file:

if [ $(tty) == "/dev/tty1" ]; then

This code will start X (the graphical environment) whenever the user logs in on TTY1. You can add more code after startx that will be executed if the user logs out of X.

Archived Comments


I do $sudo crontab -e

@reboot startx


very good!

thanx ;)

I used to install ubuntu minimal + lxde + your tip!


nice ….


I can’t see why you would want this function on a server…
Or it should be locked away, very good ;)


I appreciate all of your information. I have found white noise helpful in my insomnia issues.


This works, but on my Xubuntu 9.10, it killed sound for my user. I could use sound as root. Normal fixes for the symptoms didn’t work, so had to undo again :( Sound came back for my user.


Thank you for the tip.

If’ve tried this on Ubuntu Server 8.04 and it works. Only the configuration files change:

- tty1 file: /etc/event.d/tty1
- profile file: ~/.profile

Bob L.

I’ve tried several other things and finally:

this works on Ubuntu i386 9.10.



Thanks! I have tried to find something like this for 2h!
It works great!


Works perfectly on 10.04 as well! Could uninstall all that gdm/gnome stuff.

But; “You can add more code after startx that will be executed if the user logs out of X.” How do you implement a solution that mimicks the log out/restart x/log in again, of login manager. I don’t use it that often but it can come in handy sometimes.
“if [ $(tty) == “/dev/tty1” ]; then
Should more commands go after the startx or after the fi ?


Tom2 saying hi to Tom and thanks for the tip :^)

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