Windows 8: How to Add Applications to the Startup Folder

   Posted July 9, 2012 by David Kirk in Windows 8

The Startup folder has been in Windows since its beginning. It allows the user to select applications to automatically launch during the Windows initiation process. However, in Windows 8 finding and using the Startup folder can be difficult.

If you search for “startup” from the Start screen in Windows 8, you will not find the folder in the results.

The Startup folder is well hidden from tweaks and manipulation in Windows 8. However, here are the steps you can follow to add any application to the Startup folder in Windows 8.

1. First of all launch the Run dialog box. This can be done by pressing Win+R key from anywhere in Windows 8.

2.Paste %AppData% in the Run box and select Ok.

3. This will generate your AppData folder structure which will appear in the address bar. Paste the following code after what is generated in the address bar:

\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

4. Next, go to the shortcut of the app that you want to put in the Startup folder. Hold the right button of the mouse and drag the shortcut of that application to the Startup folder. You will be prompted with a few options. Select Create Shortcuts here.

The shortcut of your desired applications will appear in the Startup folder. All shortcuts to apps placed within this folder will be executed automatically when Windows goes through the Startup process.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Leticia

    I don’t use windows 8 yet. Can’t we just right click on the apps exe file just like the older version?

  • Duke0102

    Cheers for the tutorial, loving the OS even with the numerous small annoyances 😀

  • Yves Ligot

    Wrong, it doesn’t work.

    • Karuya

      I have tried, and successfully 🙂
      #On windows 8 Proffesional

  • Tommy D.

    I also tried that, also tried both user and all user folder, shortcut is there, doesn’t start on boot.

  • ..

    Doesn’t work for me either

  • john

    Thanks David, worked perfectly 🙂

  • johan

    As others state, this doesn’t work. And I even have a third party start menu app that boots to desktop, but the startup folder doesn’t work.

  • dianbado

    thank you so much for the information 😀

  • D. Mason

    Dual Dueling between start screen and desktop without start menu messes up context of what you are doing. Sorry, but we were just getting good with having 2 or 3 monitors to accent our context, having several windows open, etc.

  • danwat1234

    +4. Doesn’t work. Can’t launch Speedfan/setFSB/Throttlestop by putting shortcuts in the username startup folder.

  • w8user

    Doesn’t work for me either!

  • TrueLee

    Doesn’t work. I put the Internet Explorer in the Startup folder, but nothing happens. Windows 8 starts up “normally”, with no IE.

  • DC

    It works for me – due to securtity setup you might need to first right-click on exe-file and select “Send-to” -> desktop (create shortcut ) then you can simply move the shortcut to the startup folder.


  • PheralCat

    Finally got this to work. If you have removed your windows password so that you get an auto-logon, it won’t work. Task Scheduler evidently requires password security on some items, so you must set a password to function properly. You will even get a warning from Task Scheduler once in a while about setting the password, but appears intermittently. When I finally saw it, I thought, “Ureka”! I set a password on my PC, and now Speedfan loads at startup every time. The caveat…you now have a logon screen and can’t boot straight to tiles/desktop. Oh well, I prefer my apps loading automatically and can suffer through a password at bootup 🙂

  • danwat1234

    I have my windows password removed too! So that hopefully the person who steals my laptop will connect to wifi and I can track the IP..
    So if I enable my password will programs that require admin privileges work if I put them in the start menu startup folder or do I have to set it up in task scheduler? I’m too lazy to try myself. I’ve just gotten used to clicking on a few shortcuts on the desktop every time I reboot.

    • PheralCat

      You will still have put a shortcut in the Startup folder, AND set it up in Task Scheduler (TS) the way David excellently outlines above. Just in my case it didn’t work until I ALSO set a password on the PC. So, set a PW on your PC, follow David’s instructions to put a shortcut into Startup, AND perform the steps to put to create an entry in TS. That’s what worked for me, myself, and I.

  • anon

    Trying to make speedfan startup with this method, hasn’t been working for me 🙁

  • Larry

    Is the “default” user folder in appdata\roaming the folder for any user ? I mean .. whoever is going to log in the program is going to run ?… and if not.. is there any ways to do it ?

  • Russ Piper

    I am trying to setup Internet Explorer to launch on startup in Windows 8, I have it to where it launches but the window minimizes to the task bar. Anyone know of a way to make it stay open in Maximized view?

    Thank You

  • nadim

    Hi, thanks for the tutorial but it doesn’t work for win8 apps like the ones you download from store, any ideas on that?

  • Yuvaraj

    Thank you, this helped!

  • Nafitha

    Thank You very much ….. it is Ok with me …. it is great … thak you alot

  • rick

    Press Win+R type: shell:startup Press Enter key. This will take you to the startup folder

  • ozlock

    Right!! It doesnt work, UNLESS, you navigate manually. to the startup folder. Just go sequently to Microsoft….then everything shown in the “tutorial” until you reach the startup folder. The method shown above returns “not found” results.

  • tim

    Use the task manager and select more details – it is all there 😉

  • Giack

    I’m using Windows 8.1
    Thanks for the help but even for me it does not work…! 🙁
    I correctly follow your steps but the program does not load automatically on windows start.
    Maybe this will become some new Windows 8 mistery! 🙂

  • ajantha

    thanks its OK

  • Ronnie

    The description that the startup items will execute “during the Windows initiation process” is totally misleading.
    They will ONLY execute when a user LOGS ON. You will need to install a service to have a program execute when windows actually starts and is waiting for someone to log on.

  • Yeah….

    This will only work with Applications. It will not work with Apps. There is a major difference between Applications and Apps. Apps can only be run in the metro shell. You can access them through the applications folder, but you cannot create shortcuts of them.

  • shujidan

    This works, maybe people are running applications which are executed in background or they are copying the shortcut in a wrong location. You can check if done correctly by opening Task Manager on the tab “Start” and checking if the application is in the list.

  • asd

    You can just type ‘shell:startup’ into the run box and it will open up the Startup folder in the Explorer directly.

  • Ben

    Thank you. Disappointing how difficult Microsoft has made this in Windows 8.

    For anyone else that is wondering, if you want to launch a standalone executable (such as Sticky Notes) where it is not in the usual “Program Files” directory, if you have it either open or pinned to the taskbar on the Desktop, hold Shift down and right-click on it and select “Properties”. In the “Target” field, copy the portion which corresponds to the directory the executable is located in. That’s where the application resides.

    Alternatively, you may be able to do the same by just searching for the application via the Charms and selecting “Open file location” and seeing if you can do it that way, but for the Sticky Notes application, doing this returns the location of an executable shortcut to the actual executable which is located in a different directory (in other words I’m not sure if you can make a “shortcut from a shortcut”, if you understand me).

  • John Fedrick

    What if I’m not able to access startup programs even by manually starting it.
    What happens exactly is, whenever I click on programs like Skype, just nothing happens at all. Do you’ve any special recommendations for that or could suggest anything, It’ll be truly appreciated.