startx – Used to start the X Window System

The startx command is used to start the X Window System, which is a graphical user interface (GUI) that runs on top of a Linux operating system. This command is typically used to launch a desktop environment or window manager, such as GNOME or KDE.


To use the startx command, simply open a terminal window and type startx. By default, this will launch the default desktop environment or window manager that is configured on the system.

However, you can also specify a different desktop environment or window manager by using the startx command with the appropriate arguments. For example, to launch the GNOME desktop environment, you would type:

startx /usr/bin/gnome-session

Alternatively, you can create a custom ~/.xinitrc file to specify which desktop environment or window manager to launch. This file should contain a list of commands to run when startx is executed.


The following table lists the available options for the startx command:

Option Description
-display <display> Specifies the X display to use.
-nocursor Disables the mouse cursor.
-terminate Terminates the X server when the session is finished.
-verbose Enables verbose output.
-version Prints the version number and exits.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you encounter issues when using the startx command, there are a few troubleshooting tips you can try:

  • Make sure that your video drivers are installed and up-to-date.
  • Check that your X configuration files are correctly set up.
  • Try launching a different desktop environment or window manager to see if the issue is specific to one particular environment.
  • Check the system logs for any error messages related to X.


  • The startx command is typically run as a non-root user. Running it as root can cause security issues.
  • When you run startx, it will create an X server that runs on the local machine. This can be used to display X applications running on remote machines using X forwarding.
  • The startx command is not always installed by default on Linux systems. If it is not available, you may need to install it manually.