PiTFT – Load the desktop with a physical button (startx)

I recently discovered the PiTFT screen, a 2.5″ TFT screen from Adafruit that sits on top of a Raspberry Pi. You can send it images, video, or set it up as a desktop environment. This became immediately appealing as I realised I could setup the pi as a webserver for my home automation, and load the browser fullscreen to interact with it. Oh yeah, it has a touchscreen, making interacting with the interface really nice.


One small issue it getting the screen to start a desktop. You have 2 options:

  1. Start the pi, connect to ssh and type startx
  2. Start the pi and make the default desktop the tft (meaning no output anymore on hdmi)

Neither of these are great, one involves having to login every boot, the other means you don’t get your regular desktop over hdmi.

Enter option 3!

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