Starting Programs Automatically at Startup

by Barry Dysert
(last updated July 25, 2016)

7

There are many places that Windows looks for startup programs, and most of them are in the Windows Registry. But there is also a location in the file system where Windows looks. To get there, open the File Explorer and type (without the quotes) "shell:Startup" and press Enter. You'll be taken to a special Windows folder that looks something like this. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Startup folder.

The figure shows what my Startup folder looks like. Yours will no doubt look different. Nevertheless, if there's a program that you want to run when your system is restarted, just place the program (or a shortcut to it) into this folder.

 This tip (571) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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Comments

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What is three minus 2?

2016-07-31 08:24:24

Thierry Hoornaert

This is a very useful tip for my first visit to WindowsTips. Thank you.


2016-07-30 15:33:40

Ron Kearney

Thanks, a very useful tip for my first visit to your site. Am signing up right now. Incidentally, My Win 10 system has a desktop.ini file in this folder with the the following text - I would think this must have to be first in this directory. Is this true? and what is the -21787?
[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%system32shell32.dll,-21787


2016-07-27 07:14:56

Brian Hershman

My final comment on this topic:
re:"This tip (571) applies to Windows 10."

It does apply to Windows 7 also.

PS "just happened" at the right time to get me out of an immediate problem, thanks.


2016-07-26 13:53:10

Barry

"just happened"? No. The key is, know your audience ;-)


2016-07-26 13:45:42

Brian Hershman

For some reason, I did not realise that I could enter anything in the File Explorer address bar - it looked dimmed out! So I tried searching from the Start button, and it worked exactly the same anyhow.

In any case I did want to schedule a start-up task and I could not get it going properly via the Task Scheduler. I am grateful that you just happened to give me a very relevant tip.


2016-07-25 14:49:29

Barry

No, you type shell:startup in the address bar of File Explorer.
Whatever is in that special folder will be started when the system starts up. It's not the same as using the Task Scheduler (if that's what you're thinking).


2016-07-25 14:45:50

Brian Hershman

(1) "open the File Explorer and type..."? Surely you mean Windows Explorer or Start Button?
(2) Is this the same as scheduling a task for startup?


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