How to Run a Program when Windows Starts

by Barry Dysert
(last updated February 15, 2016)

1

Windows provides a great capability for running programs automatically. It's called the Task Scheduler. By using the Task Scheduler, you can have programs run, messages display, or e-mail sent whenever certain events happen with your computer. One of these events is system startup.

To launch the Task Scheduler, use the search capabilities of Windows to search for "Task Scheduler." When you locate and run the application, Windows displays the Task Scheduler dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Task Scheduler dialog box.

Say that I have a program in "C:\Exe" called Reminder.exe that I want to be automatically run when Windows starts. In the left pane of the Task Scheduler dialog box, click the item titled "Task Scheduler Library". In the right pane, click the item "Create Basic Task." This starts the Create Basic Task Wizard. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Create Basic Task Wizard dialog box.

Type, in the Name box, the name of the task that you want to run. This can be any name, but my practice is to name the task based on the program that's going to run. For example, since my program (the one I want to run) is reminder.exe, I might give this task the name of "Reminder." When you are done enter the name (and, optionally, a description) click the Next button to proceed to the second step of the wizard. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Defining the trigger for the task.

Here you can specify when you want the program to run. Notice that there is a "When the Computer Starts" option; this is the one you should select. You can then click Next to move to the third step of the wizard.

In the third step you start to define the action you want performed. There are three possible actions you can choose; you want to choose the "Start a Program" option and then click the Next button. Windows then lets you chose the program you want to run. You can either click the Browse button and locate the reminder.exe program, or you can simply type the full pathname and filename into the dialog box. (See Figure 4.)

Figure 4. Specifying the program to run.

If the program requires any command-line arguments or needs to start in a particular folder, you can also specify that information in the dialog box. When you are done, click the Next button to proceed to the final step. This is where the wizard shows you what you've specified so you have a chance to review. When you are satisfied with what you've created, click the Finish button.

You've now configured Windows so that every time your computer starts up, Windows runs a particular program.

 This tip (5666) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Configuring Windows to Do Backups on a Schedule

Performing regular backups of your system offers you peace of mind because you don't have to worry about data loss in the ...

Discover More

Creating a Bootable USB Flash Drive

If your hard disk becomes problematic to the point where you can't even boot from it, you'll be glad you have a bootable ...

Discover More

Running a Batch File at a Scheduled Time

Once you become comfortable with batch files, chances are that you'll want to use them to perform various system ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Scheduling a Program to Run on a Schedule

If you have certain programs that you want to have run automatically, you can use Windows Task Scheduler to quickly set ...

Discover More

Modifying or Deleting a Program's Schedule

Windows makes it easy to define tasks and to run them on a regular schedule. If you later want to modify or delete a ...

Discover More

Understanding the Task Scheduler

If you want to have a program run at a certain time or when a specific system event occurs, you'll want to understand the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 7?

2016-02-15 10:09:11

David Smith

How do I kill a task that is already set up?


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.