Auto-starting Transmission in recent Ubuntu versions

In my opinion, one of the coolest things about Ubuntu is that it comes with a Bittorrent client pre-installed. Transmission is an excellent torrent downloader. I use it all the time on my media server PC, both using the GUI (on my TV) and the web interface. I’ve even set it up so it watches my dropbox folder for new torrent files, so all I have to do to start downloading is power up the computer.

However, in order to make that work, Transmission needs to start automatically with Ubuntu. This used to be really straight-forward in older Ubuntu versions. You could simply add the terminal command “transmission” to the startup programs and that was it. Since “Meerkat” (or perhaps the version before that), this does not work any more.

I googled this issue, and found lots of guides about how to set up “transmission-daemon”, a “headless” version (which means it has no GUI at all). This is probably an excellent solution for setups where there’s no monitor attached to the computer, but it requires you to edit configuration files for things that “regular” Transmission allows you to set though its graphical user interface.

As it turns out, you can still fire Transmission (the regular version) by adding it to the startup applications (a process described here). The trick is to use “transmission-gtk”. Optionally, you can start the progam in minimized mode, by adding the “-m” switch. Here’s what I use.

transmission-gtk -m

So, if your computer isn’t a headless one, I’d recommend not installing “transmission-daemon”, but simply auto-starting regular transmission. That way, it’s much easier to use, even though this simple trick is so hard to find.

Roy | November 15, 2011 | English,Software | Comments (3)


  1. Thank you! I don’t understand why Transmission (a default app as you say), don’t just have an option in its settings to do this! Ridiculous! Thanks for the help!

    Comment by forteller — November 23, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  2. Thank you so very much! I’ve search a lot for this. May you long live and help others too!

    Comment by Ciprian Tomoiaga — June 29, 2012 @ 12:44 am

  3. Thank U so much! It is so easy, but i just could not find it.
    i was trying to type random forms of “transmission” allready..

    “As soon as one is doing it the right way, it instantly works.”

    Comment by naikologik — July 12, 2012 @ 9:59 pm