I'm trying to set up elementaryOS on a computer for use in a classroom. I want to have a specific set of applications appear in the Dock for the Guest session by default. Ideally these would be the same as the ones I have set up in the main (Administrator) account. How can I set this up?
Would I be better off creating another user account? Can I make it reset all changes when it logs off like the guest session?

1 Answer 1


You can customize your guest session under elementary OS. In your case you might only want to copy some of the configuration files of your Administrator account (startup apps, dock apps, etc.) to /etc/guest-session/skel that will be copied for each new guest login.

The customization steps for elementary OS are pretty much the same as for Ubuntu: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CustomizeGuestSession.

Part of the original tutorial: Using a special user account for setting the guest preferences is the most convenient way to customize the guest session feature. Please follow these steps:

  1. Add a new user account with the username guest-prefs.

  2. Log in to guest-prefs and change things to what you want your guests encounter at startup.

  3. Open a terminal window and create a symbolic link to the home directory of guest-prefs:

    sudo mkdir /etc/guest-session sudo ln -s /home/guest-prefs /etc/guest-session/skel

Now, when you launch a guest session, it will have the same preferences as you set for guest-prefs.


  • In this tutorial we use the name guest-prefs, but you can give the special purpose user some other username.

  • You may prefer to hide guest-prefs from the login screen and the system menu. Hopefully that will be easy to accomplish when https://launchpad.net/bugs/857651 has been fixed.

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