It is inconvenient for users to manually launch programs that they use frequently after every system startup. It gets worse if there are multiple programs they have to open every time they turn on their computers.
On Windows, you can solve this problem by setting the program of your choice to launch automatically on the startup. For instance, if the first thing you do is check your email after you open your computer, you can configure the mail client to automatically open up after the system boots up.
From the Startup Folder
Using the Startup folder feature is the most convenient way of adding programs to startup on Windows. The only thing you have to do is drop the shortcuts of the programs you want to run in the startup folder. Next time you open the computer, these programs will launch automatically on startup.
- Click on the Start button and search for the program you want to add to the Startup.
- Right-click on the program and select Open file location.
- Copy the program shortcut from that directory.
- Now, press the Windows key + R to open Run.
Shell:startupand hit enter. This will open the local startup folder.
- Paste the shortcut you copied earlier in this folder. This will make the program startup only to the current user account.
However, if you want to add a program to startup on other user accounts as well, you must paste the app shortcut on the common startup folder.
- Open Run, type
shell:common startupand hit enter. This will open the common startup folder for all the user accounts on the device.
- Paste the shortcut for the program in this folder.
You can even add the apps installed from the Microsoft store to launch on startup.
- Open Run, type
shell:appsfolder, and hit enter.
- Open the Startup folder simultaneously and drag the apps into the startup folder.
From the Task Manager
Task Manager not only helps you to manage the background processes of the system, but also lets you manage the startup programs. It shows what programs are already enabled/disabled for running on the startup and allows you to manage the startup settings for such programs.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc key to open the Task manager.
- Go to the Startup Section. You will find the list of installed programs here.
- Find the application you want to add for the Startup and right-click on it.
- Select Enable.
- The next time the system startups, the preferred program will launch as well.
- If you want some programs to not launch on the startup, you can disable it by following the same process.
From the Registry Editor
Registry is the database of all the system configurations on your system. You can even make an app or a program to run on startup by changing the settings in the registry.
Note: Make sure to backup your registry before making changes to avoid unwanted system behavior
- Right-click on the shortcut of the program you want to launch at the startup.
- Select Properties.
- Go to the Shortcuts tab and copy the target directory.
- Now, press Windows Key + R, type
regeditand press enter. This will open the registry editor.
- If you want to create the changes only for the current user account, go to this registry location.
If the changes are intended for all the user accounts on the system, you will have to navigate to another registry location.
- Right-click on the empty space of this location.
- Select New > String Value.
- Name the string value with the name of the desired program you want to launch on the startup. For instance, if you want to add Discord for the startup, name the value “Discord“.
- Open the string value and paste the target path of the application you copied earlier in the value data field.
- Click on OK to save the changes.
From the Command Prompt
Users can also make changes to the registry using the command line and configure a program to launch on the startup.
- Go to the program’s installation location and copy the file path of its folder directory.
- Press Windows key + X and open Terminal (Admin).
- Now, you can use this syntax to add the program to the startup list of all the user accounts on the device.
REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" /V "App_Name" /t REG_SZ /F /D "C:\App_Path\App_File.exe"
For instance, if discord has to be added to the startup list and its target path is
"C:\ProgramData\user1\Discord\app-1.0.9008\Discord.exe", the syntax will look like this.
REG ADD "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" /V "Discord" /t REG_SZ /F /D "C:\ProgramData\user1\Discord\app-1.0.9008\Discord.exe"
- Use this syntax in a similar manner, if you want the changes for only the current user account.
REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" /V "App_Name" /t REG_SZ /F /D "C:\App_Path\App_File.exe"
From the Task Scheduler
Task scheduler can be used to automate many routine system processes that would require action from the user. Using this utility, users can even schedule a program to run on the startup.
- Press Windows Key + R, type
taskschd.mscand hit enter.
- Go to the Action tab and select Create task.
- Name the Task and check the option Run with highest privileges.
- Go to the Triggers Section.
- Click on New.
- In the Begin the task drop-down menu, choose the option At startup. Click on OK.
- Now go to the Action section and click on New.
- Click on the Browse button and select the executable file of the program you like to run at the startup.
- Click on OK to save the changes.