Windows 10 – Start Programs at Startup

Do you always manually start the same program(s) every time you start Windows 10?

It could be that you know you will use Word, Excel, Photoshop and/or other programs every time you start your computer. If so, you may wish to get Windows to open these programs automatically every time it starts up. We can do this. It just needs a shortcut to the program(s) to be placed in a specfic folder.

If you’ve done this before in previous versions of Windows then it’s quite possible that you’ve tried to do it in Windows 10 and given up because you can’t find the right folder. Well, the answer to the conundrum is that, for whatever reason (and I can’t think of any reason at all), Microsoft have chosen to put the specific folder inside a hidden folder so you’ll never find it by ordinary means unless you have “unhidden” hidden folders.

Why have they done this? No idea.
Why don’t they build in a small utility (an option in a context menu?) that says “start this program when Windows starts”? No idea.

What’s the solution? Open the hidden folder (even though it is hidden) by another method.

And here is how to open the (probably hidden) folder containing startup items:

  • Click the start button
  • Without clicking anywhere (do not click!), type the word “run” (without the quotes)
  • Click on “Run, desktop app” that has now appeared in the Start Menu
  • Your cursor should now be flashing in a text box next to the title “Open:”. Type “shell:startup” (without the quotes) and click on the “OK” button
Start the Run App
As you type “run” the “Run, Desktop” app appears higher up. Click on it to open the “Run” command
Execute the Run Command
Type “shell:startup” (without quotes) in the “Run” box and click on “OK”

The startup folder should now have opened, so all we need to do is place one or more shortcuts in it that point to the desired program(s). We can do this in different ways:

If you have a shortcut to the program on your desktop:

  • Right-click on the shortcut
  • Left-click on “create shortcut”
  • Drag the (duplicate) shortcut from the desktop into the startup folder that you opened above

If you can navigate to the program in one of the folders c:\Program Files or c:\Program Files (x86):

  • Right-click on the program name
  • Left-click on “create shortcut”
  • Drag the (duplicate) shortcut from the program folder into the startup folder that you opened above

If you open the program by selecting it from the Start menu:

  • Right-click on the Start Menu shortcut
  • Left-click on “More”
  • Left-click on “Open file location”
  • Right-click on the program name or shortcut (it will already be highlighted)
  • Left-click on “create shortcut”
  • Drag the (duplicate) shortcut from the program folder into the startup folder that you opened above

You can change the shortcut so that, when the computer is starting up, the program does not come to the fore. In other words, you can “start minimised” so that the program is open and ready to be called forward from the taskbar, but does not “get in your face” before you want it.

Run Minimised
Select the “Shortcut” tab and then select “Minimised” against the “Run” option

To start programs minimised:

  • Right-click on the program’s shortcut (the shortcut that is in the startup folder, of course)
  • Left-click on “properties”
  • Make sure you are on the tab called “shortcut”
  • Click the triangle next to the item headed “Run:” and select “minimised”
  • Close the dialog box
  • Re-boot to check that it worked
  • Make cup of tea