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Execute script on start-up

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I am trying to execute a script when my Raspberry Pi boots up. I would like the web browser to open up automatically.

I have tried to find a simple solution, (like dropping my script in some “startup” directory or something similar) but I am not seeing anything like that.

I have looked into Upstart, but I’m struggling to grasp how that works. Any scripts I’ve tried have not worked when I test them out.

  • 4
    What operating system are you running? In FreeBSD, which I’m using on my Pi, you can add startup scripts to /usr/local/etc/rc.d/, or just add things to /etc/rc.local. Different Linux distros have different recommended methods. If you’re running X on it, then you should might look into adding things to your .xinitrc or .xsession file. – ghoti Nov 16 ’13 at 4:08
  • More information about the X startup process can be found over here. – ghoti Nov 16 ’13 at 4:27
  • 6
    Please note the accepted answer here has some caveats and technically does not start anything at boot except under specific conditions. Read it carefully. – goldilocks May 21 ’16 at 17:57
  • You are asking for a script that runs when you log in, not when the pi boots or at start-up. Two very different things, and the title is skewing the google search results. – IAmNaN Jan 9 ’18 at 1:44
  • if you want to autostart a node.js script at boot, use pm2. it’s designed specifically for that; for running scripts at boot, tracking their stdout and stderr in log files, restarting scripts, etc. – mahesh Dec 21 ’19 at 17:49

12 Answers

201

For running Midori on startup, take a look at this tutorial. For DIY solutions, read on.


You can add your script executable command to the bottom of .bashrc that will run your script every time open a terminal (or run a new instance of bash).

  1. Make sure you are in the pi folder:
    $ cd ~
    
  2. Create a file and write a script to run in the file:
    $ sudo nano superscript
    
  3. Save and exit: Ctrl+XYEnter
  4. Open up .bashrc for configuration:

.bashrc is NOT intended to run scripts.

It is run each time a non-login interactive shell is started and is used to configure the shell.
~/.bashrc: executed by bash(1) for non-login shells.

   $ sudo nano .bashrc
  1. Scroll down to the bottom and add the line: ./superscript
  2. Save and exit: Ctrl+XYEnter

If you are looking for a solution that works on bootup to the console, take a look at this link. Basic rundown:

  1. Create a file for your startup script and write your script in the file:
    $ sudo nano /etc/init.d/superscript
    
  2. Save and exit: Ctrl+XYEnter
  3. Make the script executable:
    $ sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/superscript
    
  4. Register script to be run at startup:
    $ sudo update-rc.d superscript defaults
    

If you want a script to run when you boot into the LXDE environment, you could take a look at this Raspberry Pi forum post:

  1. Navigate to ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi
  2. Open the autostart file in that folder:
    $ sudo nano autostart
    
  3. Add @midori on a new line. If you want to run something like a python script, put something like @python mypython.py on a new line. Running a script file would be @./superscript, but for some reason the script runs in an infinite loop (perhaps this will stop that).
  4. Save and exit: Ctrl+XYEnter
  5. Restart your Raspberry Pi into the LXDE environment.
  • 1
    The tutorial on setting up Midori on startup was just what I was looking for. Not sure why there are so many ways to do such a simple thing, but I’m glad it’s working now. – Tyler Murry Aug 2 ’13 at 1:44
  • 2
    @syb0rg The run at login part works like a charm (+1) if I log in via ssh, but not when the lxde desktop session starts. is there a way to do that ? – George Profenza Sep 13 ’13 at 19:50
  • 1
    @GeorgeProfenza When you do $ sudo startx? – syb0rg Sep 13 ’13 at 23:01
  • 1
    @syb0rg Using raspi-config raspian is configured to boot with the graphical interface. I’m not sure how that’s done behind the scenes(if sudo startx is executed or simply startx) because I see the graphical interface, but the script does not run. However, when I ssh into the RPi the script starts. – George Profenza Sep 13 ’13 at 23:35
  • 1
    @GeorgeProfenza I edited in a whole new section dedicated just for you 🙂 – syb0rg Sep 14 ’13 at 3:17
  • @syb0rg So close 🙂 LXDE/autostart method works, although running @./superscript (in my case ./svnc where I launch tightvncserver) has a weird side effect: the script runs over and over again and I get multiple vnc server launched continuously drowning the system. As a safer solution, after reading this post I’ve installed avahi so now it’s easier to log in via ssh, and launch the vnc server then. It would be handy to know to to avoid the script lanuch loop with the LXDE/autostart file method – George Profenza Sep 16 ’13 at 10:13
  • 1
    @GeorgeProfenza I’ve edited in a link to shut down a script when it’s done, maybe that will help. – syb0rg Sep 16 ’13 at 23:03
  • 1
    What would the code be if you just want to run ONE command when the RPi starts? I am using the middle method and to do it normally I would type: $ sudo /opt/jdk1.8.0/bin/java -Xms256M -Xmx496M -jar /home/pi/spigot.jar nogui – Anonymous Penguin Sep 23 ’13 at 22:53
  • 1
    @AnnonomusPerson Put that command in a script then run the script at startup. – syb0rg Sep 24 ’13 at 2:32
  • 3
    Just wanted to point out that the pyhton script will run, but if there are any errors, it will just be somewhere in the background using the /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart method. using .barshrc will reveal errors as well, but it’s really important to make sure the script is tight in the first place (found that out the hard way 🙂 ) – George Profenza Sep 25 ’13 at 1:23
  • 1
    @GeorgeProfenza So it is a python script? – Anonymous Penguin Sep 25 ’13 at 1:41
  • 1
    @AnnonomusPerson I intended to launch my python script on LXDE startup, yes, but the methods presented above work for launching a bash script or any other app installed on the RPi – George Profenza Sep 25 ’13 at 2:40
  • 1
  • 1
    I am getting following message, after adding script in .bashrc, when ever I opens my lxterminal bash: ./main: Permission denied – Dipak Jan 10 ’16 at 11:58
  • 1
    Part of this is I believe outdated — the /etc/xdg path should be /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE-pi; edited to reflect this. – goldilocks May 21 ’16 at 17:46
  • 8
    .bashrc is not read when the system boots or when a user logs in, only when opening a new terminal (and it’s read each time the user opens a new terminal). I’m baffled that this answer got so many upvotes: the first part is plain wrong. The third part is correct to execute a GUI program. – Gilles ‘SO- stop being evil’ Jul 15 ’16 at 1:19
  • 1
    @Gilles A new terminal is opened up on boot… how else would you interact with the OS? – syb0rg Jul 15 ’16 at 4:06
  • 1
    @syb0rg Through a GUI. And you need to log in first if autologin isn’t enabled. – Gilles ‘SO- stop being evil’ Jul 15 ’16 at 13:47
  • 1
    the .bashrc trick only works if you open a terminal window (and every time you open another terminal window). In contrast, if you just wait until the graphical shell launches, nothing happens. – bvdb Jun 4 ’17 at 18:24
  • 1
    What if my python script needs to be run as sudo? – Script Kitty Sep 2 ’17 at 22:03
  • 1
    How can I authenticate the root user on bootup, not login? – Script Kitty Sep 2 ’17 at 22:04
-1

This is what I generally do.

  1. Store your file in the raspberry pi home directory. Eg: mycode.py
  2. Edit the file:

    sudo nano .bashrc

.bashrc is NOT intended to run scripts.

It is run each time a non-login interactive shell is started and is used to configure the shell.
~/.bashrc: executed by bash(1) for non-login shells.

  1. Go to the end of the file and write:

    sudo python mycode.py

  2. If you want the output to be stored in a txt file, edit the code in Step 3 as follows:

    sudo python mycode.py >> output.py

Hope this helps!

2

Method 1:

To launch a command automatically on login, put the command into a file named

.bashrc

in the user directory (for example /home/pi)

.bashrc is NOT intended to run scripts.

It is run each time a non-login interactive shell is started and is used to configure the shell.
~/.bashrc: executed by bash(1) for non-login shells.

For example, the file could contain

chromium-browser --kiosk www.google.com

to launch Chromium in full-screen pointed to http://www.google.com


Method 2:

This solution works really well. Once the browser loads there is a small black square in the top left of the screen which seems to be a general bug (its mentioned on forums by others) but otherwise the fullscreen mode hides everything except the browser page.

Edit the autostart file:

sudo nano /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart 

Comment out everything using a ‘#’ at the start of each line and then add the following lines

Auto run the browser

@xset s off
@xset -dpms
@xset s noblank
@midori -e Fullscreen -a http://google.com

If necessary use the configuration tool to enable auto running of the GUI on powerup

sudo raspi-config

If you need to exit back to the command prompt CTRL + ALT + F1

CTRL + ALT + F2

14

Autostarting xorg apps

If the script you want to start requires an xorg session then you might try following the freedesktop autostart spec which might or might not work depending on which desktop environment you are using.

Alternatively, you can target your specific desktop environment as described at https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/autostarting.

Running a script as a systemd service

If your script fits the description of a daemon or a ‘service’, and your system is running systemd which is the case for raspbian and most modern linuces, then you can configure your script to run as a systemd service — this provides granular control over the lifecycle and execution environment, as well as preconditions for (re)starting the script, such as the network being up and running. It is also possible to configure the service restart in case of failure (Restart=always, and delay between restarting e.g. RestartSec=10).

For system-wide use create your systemd unit file under /etc/systemd/system, e.g. with vim /etc/systemd/system/autossh.service:

[Unit]
Description=Autossh keepalive daemon
## make sure we only start the service after network is up
Wants=network-online.target
After=network.target

[Service]
## use 'Type=forking' if the service backgrounds itself
## other values are Type=simple (default) and Type=oneshot
Type=forking
## here we can set custom environment variables
Environment=AUTOSSH_GATETIME=0
Environment=AUTOSSH_PORT=0
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/ssh-keep-alive.sh
ExecStop=/usr/bin/killall -9 autossh
### NOTE: you can have multiple `ExecStop` lines
ExecStop=/usr/bin/killall ssh
# don't use 'nobody' if your script needs to access user files
# (if User is not set the service will run as root)
#User=nobody

# Useful during debugging; remove it once the service is working
StandardOutput=console

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

See also:

Now we are ready to test the service:

systemctl start autossh

Checking the status of the service:

systemctl status autossh

Stopping the service:

systemctl stop autossh

Once you verified that the service works as expected enable it with:

systemctl enable autossh

NOTE: For security purposes systemd will run the script in a restricted environment, similar to how crontab scripts are run, therefore don’t make any assumptions about pre-existing system variables. Use the Environment keys if your script needs specific variables to be defined. Adding set -x at the top of your bash script and then running systemctl status my_service might help identify why your script is failing. As a rule of tumb, always use absolute paths for everything including echo and cat, or explicitly define your $PATH.

-1

it WORKS. (On every re-boot it prepare the following submissions automatic)

$ cat /etc/rc.local
#!/bin/sh -e
echo "18" > /sys/class/gpio/export
echo "out" > /sys/class/gpio/gpio18/direction
echo "1" > /sys/class/gpio/gpio18/value
exit 0
4

On the Raspberry Pi3 running Raspbian Stretch this is what I did:

Edit the LXDE-pi autostart file

    sudo nano /home/pi/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

Add this to the bottom of that file

    @sudo python3 /path/to/your/script.py

save & reboot

8

I want to throw in my two cents, even though this is an old question but commonly asked to do simple thing – autostart. I tried all the suggested solutions in all the answers for this question. NONE of them worked for me. I am using Raspberry PI Model 2 with Raspbian.

The only way I could get my application to autostart successfully is through a script as follows. I say successfully because my application started as expected without having any issue like starting with wrong work path.

1.Create an empty file with extension .sh and name it whatever you want.

2.Copy and Paste the following EXACTLY except change “your application name” to the script name that you just created.

#! /bin/sh

 ### BEGIN INIT INFO
 # Provides:          noip
 # Required-Start:    $remote_fs $syslog
 # Required-Stop:     $remote_fs $syslog
 # Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
 # Default-Stop:      0 1 6
 # Short-Description: Simple script to start a program at boot
 ### END INIT INFO

 #change /direct/path/to/your/application to the path your application is in.
 cd /direct/path/to/your/application      # example cd /home/pi/myprogram/

 #change YourProgramExactName to Exact name of your program that you want to auto start
 ./YourProgramExactName

 exit 0
  1. Then, save the script file within your application folder
  2. Then, open /home/pi/.config/autostart folder. It might be different in your case. Just open your home folder and enable view hidden folders. open .config/autostart. If you don’t see autostart folder, then create a folder called autostart within .config folder.
  3. within autostart folder you will need to create a shortcut to your script file that you created as follows. Create an empty file with extension .desktop.
  4. Copy and paste the following in the empty desktop file except you will need to change CommentNameExecPath and Icon field’s value.
    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=
    Exec=/path/to/Your/application/Name-of-the-script-file (.sh)
    Icon=/Path/to/Your/application/Icon/IconName
    Name=YourApplicationEXACTNAME
    Path=/Path/to/Your/Application-ONLY
    Type=Application
    
  5. Save and close the file after changing all the necessary fields. You are done. Just test it out.
  • Technically this script is run by the system rather than by a specific user – so perhaps your application better belongs in /usr/local/bin/ApplicationName…? – SlySven Feb 11 ’17 at 11:36
  • @SlySven “the system” is a specific user. – Limited Atonement Nov 13 ’18 at 11:17
  • Is it run as root (UID = 0) or the pi user (UID ~ 500 or 1000 IIRC) – if it is run as root or another system UID (less than 500) then it is traditionally good practice to store the script file (or any that it depends on) on the root device so that should there be a problem with any other device (e.g. home if that is a separate device) there will not be a problem with the script (or an executable) file being unavailable when the system fails back to a single user /bin/sh shell! Nowadays the systemd way is to mount both / and /usr before PID 1 is started… – SlySven Dec 11 ’18 at 22:23
0

make a .sh file with the commands ‘python /path/to/your/script.py’ type ‘sudo nano /etc/rc.local’ and type the path to the .sh file

before

exit 0

Or you could just type in

crontab -e

or

sudo crontab -e 

if you want the script to run at startup

inside the file type in

@reboot python /path/to/your/script.py &
0

You could place your script at the bottom of /etc/profile file.

Other options did not work for me, but this is maybe because I placed my script on the desktop.

5

I also had trouble with this. On the Raspberry Pi3 running Raspbian this is what I did:

  1. Create a startup shell script in your root directory (I named mine “launch”):

sudo leafpad launch.sh

  1. Save the file
  2. Edit the LXDE-pi autostart file

sudo leafpad /home/pi/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

  1. Add this to the bottom of that file

./launch.sh

  1. reboot
32

Add it to the crontab

The crontab runs commands at defined times.


Edit the file:

sudo crontab -e

Add line to file (here a python script):

@reboot python3 /home/pi/Desktop/exemple.py &
49

The way that I’ve seen most people do it (have a look on the Raspberry Pi forums), and have done myself with success is using /etc/rc.local.

All you need to do here is put ./myscript in the rc.local text file. If it’s in python, put python myscript.py.

This literally is “a simple solution, (like dropping my script in some “startup” directory or something similar)”- maybe search on the forums when you’re having questions as well, this solution came up on the first 4 results of a google search!

.END

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